Because the Coens have tried their hand at numerous genres, from noir to screwball to outright surrealism, it wasn’t immediately apparent that they were making the same basic movie over and over. After 30 years and 16 features, however, it’s now hard not to notice that prototypical Coen protagonists are hapless, well-meaning schlemiels upon whom life exacts a toll that’s much worse than they deserve. In the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, it’s a hard world for little things (and everyone else)
Though Llewyn appears stuck, he’s the nomad always ecstatic in his circumlocutions. He’s on a road to nowhere but at least trudging on a path to somewhere. The rest of the world marks time, gliding smoothly along the straight line of the future, arrested comfortably in the steady flow of the ever-present, and being naively present relieves one from the nightmare of history. Maybe the materialization of Dylan’s music in the final minutes, when it wasn’t there in the beginning, is another sign that Llewyn’s time has passed, and it’s time to, um, face the music. Like clockwork he goes into the alley to confront the shadowy figure, and takes his punch (this time not saying “I’m sorry?” before the fist collides with his face, however). Consigned again to this cesspool, he doesn't stay down but ascends through iron bar shadows and follows his bellicose aggressor, who gets into a cab and drives off. Llewyn looks on somewhat wistfully, not saying “farewell” in accord with Dylan but rather says “Au revoir”—indicating they’ll see each other again. At that quiet utterance the cab’s wheels screech and turn a sharp corner. The linear trajectory forward is thwarted and Fate's Emissary will inevitably come around again. The Orbital Noose: Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen Brothers latest film "Inside Llewyn Davis" is fictional, but it aims to portray the very specific time and place of the Greenwich Village Folk scene in the early 60's. Reviewers have already noted the similarities between the movies characters and some real life counterparts, starting with Llewyn Davis himself and legendary folk singer Dave Van Ronk. [more inside]
In 1904, John A. Lomax recorded Dink, a levee worker, singing a folk song. In 1934, Lomax published the song in his book, American Ballads and Folk Songs. It went on to become a folk staple. Recently, the Coen Brothers used a new recording of the song by Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac in the trailer for the film Inside Llewyn Davis. (Isaac plays the title role.) Jool's Musical Flowers, a blog dedicated to "the ORIGINAL versions of [mostly blues and gospel music] famous songs and songs covered by famous poeople" has compiled a thorough list of covers. The only two I might add are Jeff Buckley's 1992 performance at WFMU, and Joan Baez's 2004 performance at the Bowery Ballroom. (Previously)
The entire soundtrack to the Coen brother's upcoming movie "Inside Llewyn Davis" can now be listened to in its entirety online, and for free. [more inside]
Trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis - the new film by the Coen brothers possibly inspired by the album cover for The Freewheeling' Bob Dylan.