The impressive feature debut by theatre and opera director William Oldroyd is an adaptation of Nikolai Leskov’s novel Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1865), adapted into an opera by Shostakovich in 1934. Scriptwriter and playwright Alice Birch sets the story in Northumberland in 1865. Protagonists Katherine (a promising performance by Florence Pugh) is sold by her father to a sadistic mine owner, who envisages her as a wife for his both unfriendly and authoritarian son. Katherine is regularly humiliated and has to stay indoors all the time. Very occasionally she escapes to the heath, where she feels free. When her husband is absent, she starts a passionate affair with the servant, Sebastian. 
The story is largely set inside the house, where taut visual composition underlines the oppressive, puritanical mood. The nature and sex scenes, however, are captured with looser camerawork.

Filmmaker
William Oldroyd
Country
United Kingdom
Year
2016
Medium
DCP
Length
89’
Language
English
Producer
Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly
Production Company
Sixty Six Pictures
Sales
Protagonist Pictures
Writer
Alice Birch
Cinematography
Ari Wegner
Editor
Nick Emerson
Production Design
Jacqueline Abrahams
Sound Design
Dan Jones
Cast
Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie