INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
2013, CBS Films, 105 min, USA, Dir: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Just before the early-1960s folk boom turned them into magnets for aspiring singers, the clubs and coffeehouses of Greenwich Village were peopled by the likes of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a struggling troubadour whose traditional repertoire puts him on the margins of the music business along with a handful of other earnest and occasionally eccentric characters. The Coen brothers’ INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS brings the birth of folk into focus as effectively as their O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? did bluegrass. That earlier film’s musical midwife, T Bone Burnett, handles similar duties here as an Executive Music Producer, and stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake all do their own singing on screen. The film was the Grand Prix award winner at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.


THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE
2001, Focus Features, 116 min, USA, Dir: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Joel and Ethan Coen’s haunting tale of passion, crime and punishment, all presented in glorious black-and-white. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Ed Crane, a barber in a small Northern California town in 1949 who is dissatisfied with his life - until his wife’s (Frances McDormand) infidelity presents Ed with an opportunity for blackmail that he thinks will help him to change it. However, Ed’s scheme soon unravels and lays bare even darker secrets before leading to murder. Co-starring Michael Badalucco, James Gandolfini, Jon Polito, and a young Scarlett Johansson.


BLOOD SIMPLE
1984, Janus Films, 99 min, USA, Dir: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Hangdog Texas bar owner Marty (Dan Hedaya) hires a corrupt and corpulent detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to kill Abby, his unfaithful wife (Frances McDormand), and her lover (John Getz). What follows from this simple, familiar crime premise is one of the most assured moviemaking debuts of the 1980s. Full of intuitively stylish bite, poisonous one-liners and goosebump-inducing setpieces, this neo-noir put Joel and Ethan Coen on the map of filmmakers to watch.


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