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Lady Macbeth

Sunday, April 09, 2017
6:30 p.m.
Victoria Theatre

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Monday, April 10, 2017
3:00 p.m.
YBCA Screening Room

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You don’t need to be familiar with Russian writer Nikolai Leskov’s novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk—or the famous Shostakovich opera that’s used the story as its source material—to be bowled over by this stunning adaptation; you simply need to hold on for dear life. Lady Katherine (Florence Pugh) may have been "sold" into marriage to a landowner’s son, and she may be stifled by the stricter-than-strict social constraints of rural Victorian England. But this diminutive young woman is determined to run the household with an iron fist, especially when her father-in-law forbids her to venture out on the estate’s grounds and her ineffectual husband prefers to go AWOL for weeks at a time. And once she finds her passions awakened by a strapping young stablehand (Cosmo Jarvis), Katherine becomes desperate to hold on to what little pleasure she’s been able to procure in this domestic prison. If that means a few bodies have to drop and a few gallons of blood have to spill, so be it. British theater veteran William Oldroyd turns his film debut into a brutal, gorgeous tale of a woman scorned, one that makes all of the usual British costume dramas seem positively toothless. And he’s found the perfect partner in crime in the 20-year-old Pugh, who gives the film’s antiheroine a fierce, feral sense of feminist fury. By the time this stark pastoral tale of sex, lies, murder, vengeance, and power-jockeying reaches its take-no-prisoners conclusion, you have the feeling that this character could teach her Shakespearean namesake a thing or two about getting what’s hers. –David Fear

Filmmaker Bio(s)

The longtime resident director of the Young Vic Theater in London, William Oldroyd has staged some of the most inventive British stage productions of the past 10 years, as well as collaborating with the Royal Shakespeare Company and directing operas and plays by everyone from Beckett to Ibsen around the world. His short films Christ’s Dog (2011) and Best (2013) have played various international film festivals, with the latter winning the Sundance London Short Film Competition. He was recently named one of BAFTA’s "Brits to Watch" at their annual screenings in Los Angeles and New York.
Film Details
  • Country(ies): UK
  • Language(s): English
  • Year: 2016
  • Running time: 89
  • Director(s): William Oldroyd
  • Producer(s): Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly
  • Writer(s): Alice Birch
  • Cinematographer(s): Ari Wegner
  • Editor(s): Nick Emerson
  • With: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton

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