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Macbeth Film Comparison

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Compare and contrast the opening scenes of Polanski's 1971 film version of 'Macbeth' with Geoffrey Wright's 2007 adaptation. Roman Polanski's and Geoffrey Wright's adaptations of Shakespeare's Macbeth are filmed in different styles despite being based on the same play. This may be to suit a different audience or convey a different message to one another. Roman Polanski's 1971 reproduction opens on a wide angle shot of a beach with a sunrise coming up over the horizon. This creates a feeling of morning, and that this is just the start of a storyline. After this, three old, weathered women appear and dig a hole in the sand- allowing a mysterious atmosphere to develop, which leaves the audience wanting to know more. The witches then bury a dagger encased in a severed hand and a hangman's noose. These items allow the audience to ponder upon the connection of the items. The witches then say their goodbyes and wander off along the beach, the only sound being the squeaking of their cart used to haul the ritual items in. This shot is quite simple, but it creates a feeling of anticipation. Geoffrey Wright's 2007 adaptation opens in a more 21st century blockbuster style, with attractive young schoolgirls playing the part of the witches who vandalise a graveyard by gouging out the eyes of statues of angels and spraying the eyes of the statues with red spray paint. ...read more.


For example, the witches hair is Auburn, suggesting that they pose a mild danger to Macbeth. Also, "The Cawdor"- the bar which is used as a drugs den, has red wallpaper- suggesting that it is part of the underworld. The witches vandalise a graveyard at the start of the film, showing their hatred towards God and heaven. They gouge out the eyes of the angels- possibly making them blind to what is about to happen. Red spray paint is forcefully sprayed in the eyes of the statues, also making them oblivious to the witchcraft about to take place. Crosses are also defaced- possibly a reference to Macbeth's worries about his afterlife. After the vandalism, the girls quieten down, possibly showing an ounce of respect seen as though the place they just demolished is a graveyard. Macbeth is dressed in casual attire, but in black, as in the introduction, he is supposed to be mourning his son's death. Macbeth's wife also lays down white roses- symbols of love and innocence- ironic as in the end, nobody seems to be innocent! Later on, as Macbeth and his gang chase a drug dealer from the underworld (with the prevailing colour of red), yellow street lights and buildings are shown- this separated the real world from the underworld. ...read more.


On the other hand, the 2007 version shows all of the witches having the same hairstyle and colour- that being red- with connotations to blood and death. This also is trying to show the audience that they are quite aggressive and possibly have links to the devil. Roman Polanski's film depicts Macbeth with 1970's style censoring- no explicitly violent or sexual scenes; but traditional "hints" at what is happening. Wrights' version is essentially a film from a totally different time period- showing excessive violence to "help" the modern audience understand what is going on. I think that despite the sometimes cheesy details of the film, Polanski has created a classic that really entices the audience and makes them wonder what is going on when subtle hints are dropped directing the viewer on the right direction in terms of their mental picture of the scene. The 2007 version shows how complacent modern-day audiences have become with violence and nudity in films. I think that this is mostly down to the filmmakers wanting to make the film more exciting- in some ways they have, as the action scenes in the film can be quite gripping. But as a teenager, I think that more needs to be done in order to let my imagination get to work and try to think of what is really happening, and what is the film trying to tell me beyond the gratuitous violence. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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