Friday, April 12

Where is Macbeth’s soul? | Culture


I love it Macbeth, the tragedy of William Shakespeare, go ahead. I see the film adaptation of Joel Coen, playing Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand to the leading couple, the Macbeths. Good actors, good lighting, good art direction, good costumes, in general everything is fine, it is aesthetically beautiful, technically fantastic … but something is missing. What?

I think that what it lacks lies in the adaptation of the theater to the cinema. I am asked for this article to speak from the point of view of a person, like me, who knows Shakespeare from the stage. I will try to explain myself. Macbeth it is written for a theater, with all that that entails: a live audience, a unique space and direct contact between the actor and the spectator. The actor and the director must direct the gaze of the public towards where Shakespeare indicates to them, there are no filters, there are no camera movements. And that is why the film adaptation must attend to the deep reasons that move this story and its characters.

The author with this work, almost for the first time in the history of the theater, enters the heads of the characters, their psychology, their fears and desires, their nightmares and prayers. The terror of Macbeth it comes to us through her monologues, the cruelty of Lady Macbeth through her invocations to hell. It is not enough to bring the camera closer and whisper the tragedy to us. Desire in Macbeth he screams, cries, despairs and does so through the beauty of the word, which has to come with all its nuances. The fury of the tragedy depends on the emotional impact on the viewer, on the empathy, contradictory as it may seem, that we feel for the murderers. The authentic adaptation of Macbeth it is what makes us see ourselves in a mirror, that we receive our most sinister image. That is the soul of Macbeth. However, this version does not have that soul, it is only poetic at the service of poetics. A Chinese vase speaks of its own static beauty, this is what this version looks like, a beautiful and gloomy photograph of a castle without inhabitants inside.

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Director Joel Coen and to his left Frances McDormand, on the set of 'Macbeth'.
Director Joel Coen and to his left Frances McDormand, on the set of ‘Macbeth’. Alison Rosa (AP)

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Macbeth It is passion, it is fear of committing a crime and that the spur of desire will push you to the horror of committing it, to withdraw from life, to embrace violence, hatred, suspicion, guilt. Since the murder is committed there will never be peace, Macbeth has killed the dream and everything turns into a nightmare, a bad trip with bad companions, running straight to death dragging everything in our path. Macbeth talks about how we build horror, how we make use of horror and how all this leads us to madness, to the darkest room that inhabits our brain: “Life is a story told by a madman, full of noise and fury, which means absolutely nothing ”.

Carmen Machi and Javier Gutiérrez, in the adaptation of 'Macbeth' directed by Andrés Lima in 2014.
Carmen Machi and Javier Gutiérrez, in the adaptation of ‘Macbeth’ directed by Andrés Lima in 2014.Luis Castilla

The tragedy of Macbeth It is the meticulous portrait of the psychology of the human being in the face of the ambition for power. The struggle for political power sows the history of the world of crimes between kings, of fratricidal wars, of maddened military men, of powerful murderers and of their best advisor: interest.

Respecting and ensuring that what Shakespeare tells us reaches the audience is the task of anyone who tells the tale of the unnameable (in theatrical settings it is bad luck to mention the name of the protagonist of this play). So powerful is the author’s message that superstition envelops the story of this story about superstition. Everything is based on the tale of a witch, a tale of uncontrollable passion, thirst for power and blood. Akira Kurosawa adapted Macbeth like nobody in his Throne of blood. Orson Welles portrayed the drunken ambition of the human being in his film, as beautiful as cruel. The Macbeths are the perfect marriage, united for disaster, as were the Ceausescu, the Pinochets, and so many others. This is what the absence of democracy has.

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MacbethUnfortunately, it is still current, even if it is the story of some witches, who do not exist, but there are … there are.

See this version and tell me.

Andres Lima He is a theater director. In 2014 he premiered a version of ‘Macbeth’ at the National Dramatic Center.


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