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.

Genres: Drama