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Joel and Ethan Coen: The Pocket Essential Guide [Secure eReader]
eBook by Ellen Cheshire & John Ashbrook

eBook Category: Sports/Entertainment/Sports/Entertainment
eBook Description: Intelligent, experimental, frightening, funny and always delightfully surprising, Coen brothers' films mark a constant high-point in the cinema of the Eighties and Nineties. Their eccentric vision is born of a unique relationship: Joel Coen directs, Ethan produces, they both write. Although their films share many themes and, indeed, many actors, their subjects range from the hard noir of Blood Simple via the sophisticated fantasy of The Hudsucker Proxy to the frostbitten comedy-of-errors of Fargo. As well as winning critical acclaim all over the world, their films have led the way for the renaissance in American independent movie-making and inspired directors like Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), Danny Boyle (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting) and the Wachowski Brothers (Bound, The Matrix). What's in this Pocket Essential guide? As well as an introductory essay, each of the Coen brothers' films is discussed in detail, including the enigmatic Miller's Crossing, the perplexing Barton Fink and the madcap The Big Lebowski--and there's a handy multi-media reference at the back...

eBook Publisher: Pocket Essentials/Pocket Essentials
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2006




The Brothers Coen are a phenomenon. Not since Groucho, Chico, Harpo and the one everyone forgets, have Brothers made such an impact on popular culture. The Wachowskis, Wayanses, Blueses, Smothers and Karamazovs all owe their success to the pioneering work done by The Coens. Obviously. Sharing the writing, producing and directing chores on their films ensures that the Coen siblings? vision gets to the screen in as undiluted a manner as possible.And it is a vision which has, for more than two decades, led the vanguard in American independent film-making. Now, the fact that their films are often funny makes some commentators believe the Coens have nothing to say; whilst others believe that the films are so packed full of significance that the comedy is merely a distraction. As with most things Coenical, there is merit in both of these positions, despite the seeming coentradiction. And yes, we'll continue to use these bad typographical puns until we get bored of them. Don't hold your breath. Although allegations of auteurism have frequently been levelled at them, the Brothers Coen are, in fact, aggressively collaborative. Much of the pleasure derived from a Coen film comes from the contributions of their regular ensemble of actors and technicians. However, it is true that they discourage improvisation on set, because their scripts are so carefully and completely written that any changes can shift the balance within a story. In his article ?The Brothers From Another Planet?, David Handelman sat in while the Coens wrote Raising Arizona. Ethan did the typing and smoking whilst Joel did the pacing and smoking.They mooched around Joel?s apartment, talking ideas through before committing them to paper.?The Coens write scripts without an outline, painting themselves in and out of corners ?Wildy style.? According to Joel, Mack Sennett?s silent film studio employed certified lunatics called Wildies, who would come to script meetings and blurt out crazy, non-sequitur plot ideas, which Sennett would often use.? How terribly liberating. Of course, it could be nonsense they made up just to tell journalists.The Coens are defiantly unreliable interviewees, maintaining an image of bumbling good-humoured amateurism, which their films consistently confound. Joel and Ethan were born in St Louis Park in Minnesota on 29 November 1955 and 21 September 1958, respectively. Their parents were Edward, a professor of economics, and Rena, an art historian and university teacher. They spent much of their childhood together; shooting Super8 remakes of feature films. In his book The Making of The Big Lebowski, William Preston Robertson talks very movingly about their reinterpretation of 1943?s Lassie Come Home as the slightly more straightforward Ed...A Dog. Still, given their parentage, they really had to put aside such childish things and get a degree or two. Joel took Film at New York University before finishing his graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Ethan had to make do with reading Philosophy at Princeton. During his final year, he also fulfilled a lifelong ambition to work as a statistical typist at Macy?s department store.To this day, he is still the typist in the family.


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