Film at Lincoln Center announces Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth as Opening Night of the 59th New York Film Festival, making its World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall on September 24. 

Get tickets for The Tragedy of Macbeth & more with a Festival Pass!

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. In meticulously world-weary performances, a strikingly inward Denzel Washington is the man who would be king, and an effortlessly Machiavellian Frances McDormand is his Lady, a couple driven to political assassination—and deranged by guilt—after the cunning prognostications of a trio of “weird sisters” (a virtuoso physical inhabitation by Kathryn Hunter). Though it echoes the forbidding visual designs—and aspect ratios—of Laurence Olivier’s classic 1940s Shakespeare adaptations, as well as the bloody medieval madness of Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, Coen’s tale of sound and fury is entirely his own—and undoubtedly one for our moment, a frightening depiction of amoral political power-grabbing that, like its hero, ruthlessly barrels ahead into the inferno. An Apple/A24 release.

“The New York Film Festival is a place where I’ve been watching movies as an audience member and showing them as a filmmaker for almost 50 years,” said director Joel Coen. “It’s a real privilege and a thrill to be opening the Festival this year with The Tragedy of. . .

“We can’t wait to welcome New York Film Festival audiences back to Lincoln Center this fall, and what a way to do that!” said Eugene Hernandez, Director of the New York Film Festival. “With Joel Coen, Frances McDormand, Denzel Washington, and our friends at Apple and A24 on Opening Night at Alice Tully Hall, we’re setting the stage for a momentous return to our roots. Last year was a deeply meaningful edition of NYFF; our Festival traveled to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and around the country via our Virtual Cinema. This year we’re back in our Upper West Side home, but you’ll also find us exploring new venues and ways to connect with moviegoers in person, outdoors, and online—stay tuned!”

“We’re proud to open the festival with a film that immediately joins the ranks of the great screen Shakespeares,” said Dennis Lim, Director of Programming for the New York Film Festival. “Working with brilliant collaborators, including Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in stunning form, Joel Coen has made an inspired and urgent interpretation of an eternally relevant classic, a moral thriller that speaks directly to our time.”

Campari is the exclusive spirits partner for the 59th New York Film Festival and the presenting partner of Opening Night, extending its long-standing commitment to the world of film and art.

The NYFF Main Slate selection committee, chaired by Dennis Lim, also includes Eugene Hernandez, Florence Almozini, K. Austin Collins, and Rachel Rosen. 

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema and takes place September 24 – October 10, 2021. An annual bellwether of the state of cinema that has shaped film culture since 1963, the festival continues an enduring tradition of introducing audiences to bold and remarkable works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. 

NYFF59 will feature a combination of in-person, outdoor, and virtual screenings, with a comprehensive series of health and safety policies in coordination with state and city medical experts. Visit filmlinc.org for more information. 

Festival Passes are now on sale, with Early Bird pricing through Friday, July 30 only. NYFF59 tickets will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, September 7 at noon ET, with early-access opportunities for FLC members and pass holders prior to this date. Save 15% on Contributor, Friend, Angel, and New Wave membership levels when you join online by August 9 using the promo code LOVEFILM. Learn more here. Support of the New York Film Festival benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its nonprofit mission to promote the art and craft of cinema. NYFF59 press and industry accreditation is now open.

New York Film Festival Opening Night Films

2020 Lovers Rock (Steve McQueen, UK)
2019 The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, US)
2018 The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/UK/US)
2017 Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater, US)
2016 13TH (Ava DuVernay, US)
2015 The Walk (Robert Zemeckis, US)
2014 Gone Girl (David Fincher, US)
2013 Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass, US)
2012 Life of Pi (Ang Lee, US)
2011 Carnage (Roman Polanski, France/Poland)
2010 The Social Network (David Fincher, US)
2009 Wild Grass (Alain Resnais, France)
2008 The Class (Laurent Cantet, France)
2007 The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson, US)
2006 The Queen (Stephen Frears, UK)
2005 Good Night, and Good Luck. (George Clooney, US)
2004 Look at Me (Agnès Jaoui, France)
2003 Mystic River (Clint Eastwood, US)
2002 About Schmidt (Alexander Payne, US)
2001 Va savoir (Jacques Rivette, France)
2000    Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier, Denmark)
1999    All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
1998    Celebrity (Woody Allen, US)
1997    The Ice Storm (Ang Lee, US)
1996    Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh, UK)
1995    Shanghai Triad (Zhang Yimou, China)
1994    Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, US)
1993    Short Cuts (Robert Altman, US)
1992    Olivier Olivier (Agnieszka Holland, France)
1991    The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, Poland/France)
1990    Miller’s Crossing (Joel Coen, US)
1989    Too Beautiful for You (Bertrand Blier, France)
1988    Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
1987    Dark Eyes (Nikita Mikhalkov, Soviet Union)
1986    Down by Law (Jim Jarmusch, US)
1985    Ran (Akira Kurosawa, Japan)
1984    Country (Richard Pearce, US)
1983    The Big Chill (Lawrence Kasdan, US)
1982    Veronika Voss (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany)
1981    Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, UK)
1980    Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme, US)
1979    Luna (Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy/US)
1978    A Wedding (Robert Altman, US)
1977    One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (Agnès Varda, France)
1976    Small Change (François Truffaut, France)
1975    Conversation Piece (Luchino Visconti, Italy)
1974    Don’t Cry with Your Mouth Full (Pascal Thomas, France)
1973    Day for Night (François Truffaut, France)
1972    Chloe in the Afternoon (Eric Rohmer, France)
1971    The Debut (Gleb Panfilov, Soviet Union)
1970    The Wild Child (François Truffaut, France)
1969    Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Paul Mazursky, US)
1968    Capricious Summer (Jiri Menzel, Czechoslovakia)
1967    The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, Italy/Algeria)
1966    Loves of a Blonde (Milos Forman, Czechoslovakia)
1965    Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard, France)
1964    Hamlet (Grigori Kozintsev, USSR)
1963    The Exterminating Angel (Luis Buñuel, Mexico)