The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers (Philosophy Of Popular Culture)
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Many critics agree that Joel and Ethan Coen are one of the most visionary and idiosyncratic filmmaking teams of the last three decades. Combining thoughtful eccentricity, wry humor, irony, and often brutal violence, the Coen brothers have crafted a style of filmmaking that pays tribute to classic American movie genres yet maintains a distinctly postmodern feel. Since arriving on the film scene, the Coens have amassed an impressive body of work that has garnered them critical acclaim and a devoted cult following. From Raising Arizona and Fargo to O Brother, Where Art Thou? and No Country for Old Men, the Coens have left an unmistakable imprint on Hollywood. The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers investigates philosophical themes in the works of these master filmmakers and also uses their movies as vehicles to explore fundamental concepts of philosophy. The contributing authors discuss concepts such as justice, the problem of interpretation, existential role-playing, the philosophy of comedy, the uncertainty principle, and the coldness of modernity. The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers is not just for die-hard Lebowski Fest attendees, but for anyone who enjoys big ideas on the big screen.
by David Madden, that establishes the connection between the two novels beyond any reasonable doubt. See Madden, Cain's Craft (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1985), 79–92. 15. Richard Bradbury, “Sexuality, Guilt, and Detection: Tension between History and Suspense,” in American Crime Fiction: Studies in the Genre, ed. Brian Docherty (Basingstoke, U.K.: Macmillan, 1988), 89. 16. Blood Simple's narrative pattern is quite different, as the film lacks a true main character and offers multiple
criminals seem destined to destroy themselves. Marge's comments about her expected baby affirm a certain way of life as making sense, as bearing fruit, and as something worth preserving and handing on to the next generation. Her domestic life is void of the sort of calculating, radically individualist spirit that infects the families of the criminals in the film and the typical families that inhabit other noir films. Despite its gruesome violence and somber tone, Fargo's conclusion calls to mind
discusses how the Coens in their meditations on the past don't simply allude to or recreate history; rather, they cinematically investigate how history as a narrative is constructed and question the ideologies underpinning that narrative. Last, Jerold J. Abrams, in “‘A Homespun Murder Story’: Film Noir and the Problem of Modernity in Fargo,” argues that the Coen noir Fargo reveals the isolation and alienation of humanity within modernity and its social fragmentation and radical individuation.
problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.” Albert Camus, “An Absurd Reasoning,” The Myth of Sisyphus, trans. Justin O'Brien (New York: Vintage, 1955), 3. 11. In the book there is a passage in which Bell reflects on something his father once said to him: “My daddy always told me to just do the best you knew how and to tell the truth. He said there was nothing to set a man's mind at ease like wakin up
once he meets Marylin, his attitude begins to change. Under the notion of justice as power, he finds great success: he has all the money and material goods he could want or need, he has a brilliant track record of court victories, he has earned the respect of Herb Myerson (Tom Aldredge), the senior partner of his law firm, and he has successfully achieved his dream of a victory through utter annihilation. But despite all of this success, he finds that he is still unhappy, and the reason for this