Macbeth

Roman Polanski's Macbeth (1971) and the Film Noir College

The Macbeth (1971) film production by Roman Polanski blends this classic Shakespearean tragedy to the film noir cinema genre creating a rich, dynamic combination. Classic film noir encapsulates "pessimism, bleakness, despair and paranoia which are readily evident […] shot in gloomy grays, blacks and white, it thematically showed the dark and inhumane side of human nature" (Conard 2006). Literally meaning dark film or black cinema, film noir evokes the moral darkness and corruption, evil, paranoia, mental disorder, fatalistic pessimism, violence and cruelty.

Film noir "echoes a sense of moral corruption and betrayal in the motion picture industry" (Gazetas 2008. From the opening scenes, the spectator is at once introduced to moral darkness and corruption. The battle, in which King Duncan and Macbeth are embroiled, arises from The Thane of Cawdor's treachery (coup d'état) against the ruling régime. As the herald invests Macbeth with title of Thane of Cawdor, he gives tidings of the former Thane of Cawdor's fate where "treasons capital, confessed and proved, have overthrown him". This statement bodes evil for Macbeth and adumbrates Macbeth's future breech of faith and demise. Although the battle served to squelch the treasonous...

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