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23

FRIDAY

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Of all Shakespeare’s plays, Macbeth is perhaps the best suited to being treated as a cinematic mood piece. Roman Polanski’s 1971 version doesn’t go as far as Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (playing tonight at AFI) in banishing the Bard’s language, but it does emphasize images over the dialogue, which is delivered with an offhand nontheatricality. Produced by Playboy and co-scripted by Oh! Calcutta! creator Kenneth Tynan, the film has dated a bit, with now-risible hints of S&M kink and Macbeth and his Lady looking a bit like members of the Incredible String Band. Yet Polanski’s bloody pageantry befits a man whose own story was shaped by Stalin and Charles Manson, and the film’s pagan rituals and harsh climate effectively conjure a dark old world. The opening scene of the three witches burying a rope, a dagger, and a severed arm is not soon forgotten. The film screens at 6:30 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Mark Jenkins)