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Directed by Alexander Abela

Madagascar 2001 73 mins. In Malagasy

Shifting Macbeth from the Scottish Highlands to the beautifully Spartan desert coastline of Madagascar, Makibefo is as remarkable for its unique vision as for how it was made: the film was shot by the barest of skeleton crews (director Alexander Abela and a single assistant) in a remote fishing village on the far southern tip of Madagascar and features a cast of local Antandroy tribesmen—most of whom had never seen a film or television, much less acted before. The film is punctuated by a narrator reciting portions of the original text, adding welcome structure to the austere, stripped-down approach to Shakespeare’s tale of betrayal and corrupting power. An absorbing glimpse into life in one of most remote parts of the world (including the real-life butchering of a sacrificial ox—not for the squeamish), Makibefo is, perhaps more than any other film in this series, the best argument for Shakespeare as a universal language. “[The film’s] novelty goes far beyond anthropological interest, cleverly pointing up the universality of the themes of regal authority and the temptations of power, which can occur as easily among a remotely situated society on a quiet patch of beach as in Scotland’s Highlands.”—Variety. In Malagasy with English subtitles.