The 59th New York Film Festival officially has its opening night selection. Film at Lincoln Center announced today in a press release that Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth will make its world premiere at Alice Tully Hall on September 24th. Described as a “boldly inventive visualization of The Scottish Play,” Coen’s film stars his wife and frequent muse, three-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand, opposite two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington. The film is an Apple/A24 release.
The last – and only – film directed by Coen to open NYFF was Miller’s Crossing in 1990. His most recent film, codirected by his brother and production partner Ethan, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, screened at NYFF in 2018 several weeks after bowing at the Venice International Film Festival. The Coen brothers have made a number of successful and highly-acclaimed films, including Best Picture nominees Fargo, A Serious Man, and True Grit, as well as the film that won them both the Best Picture prize and a Best Director trophy, No Country for Old Men.
About this honor, Coen stated that “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. It’s a real privilege and a thrill to be opening the Festival this year with The Tragedy of. . .” Dennis Lim, Director of Programming for the New York Film Festival, echoed his enthusiasm: “We’re proud to open the festival with a film that immediately joins the ranks of the great screen Shakespeares. 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.”
Eugene Hernandez, Director of the New York Film Festival, celebrated this selection as a grand return to the movies. “We can’t wait to welcome New York Film Festival audiences back to Lincoln Center this fall, and what a way to do that. 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!”
The 59th New York Film Festival is presented by Film at Lincoln Center and takes place September 24th – October 10th, 2021.