There were slight concerns about Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth having been turned down by at least one major festival, but now the sun is shining with the black-and-white, shot-on-a-sound-stage version of William Shakesperare‘s classic melodrama of bloody greed and ambition booked to open the 59th New York Film Festival on Friday, 9.24.

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand will play long-of-tooth versions of the titular Scottish character and his scheming “out damned spot” wife. The only costar names I recognize are Brendan Gleeson and Stephen Root.

We all understand that films chosen to open a major film festival are usually audience-friendly, as in a wee bit soft or milquetoasty or at least not overly edgy. It would appear that The Tragedy of Macbeth may be an exception to this tradition, given the NYFF’s decision to apply the term “anguished” in their official description.

NYFF press release: “A work of stark chiaroscuro and incantatory rage, Joel Coen’s boldly inventive visualization of The Scottish play is an anguished film that stares, mouth agape, at a sorrowful world undone by blind greed and thoughtless ambition.”

If NYFF honcho Eugene Hernandez manages to land Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Soggy Bottom, that’ll be two significant feathers in his cap.

A24 will release The Tragedy of Macbeth theatrically before it streams on Apple or Apple +.

Roman Polanski‘s Macbeth (’71) will always be my favorite version.