Joel and Ethan Coen: The Pocket Essential Guide [Secure eReader]
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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.
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
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
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.