The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers by The University Press of Kentucky (Paperback, 2012)
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- DescriptionIn 2008 No Country for Old Men won the Academy Award for Best Picture, adding to the reputation of filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, who were already kwn for pushing the boundaries of genre. They had already made films that redefined the gangster movie, the screwball comedy, the fable, and the film ir, among others. No Country is just one of many Coen brothers films to center on the struggles of complex characters to understand themselves and their places in the strange worlds they inhabit. To borrow a phrase from Barton Fink, all Coen films explore the life of the mind and show that the human condition can often be simultaneously comic and tragic, profound and absurd. In The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers, editor Mark T. Conard and other ted scholars explore the challenging moral and philosophical terrain of the Coen repertoire. Several authors connect the Coens' most widely kwn plots and characters to the shadowy, violent, and morally ambiguous world of classic film ir and its modern counterpart, neo-ir. As these essays reveal, Coen films often share ir's essential philosophical assumptions: power corrupts, evil is real, and human control of fate is an illusion. In Fargo, t even Minnesota's blankets of sw can hide Jerry Lundegaard's crimes or brighten his long, dark night of the soul. Coen films that stylistically depart from film ir still bear the influence of the genre's prevailing philosophical systems. The tale of love, marriage, betrayal, and divorce in Intolerable Cruelty transcends the plight of the characters to illuminate competing theories of justice. Even in lighter fare, such as Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski, the comedy emerges from characters' journeys to the brink of an amoral abyss. However, the Coens often kwingly and gleefully subvert conventions and occasionally offer symbolic rebirths and other hopeful outcomes. At the end of The Big Lebowski, the Dude abides, his laziness has become a virtue, and the human comedy is perpetuating itself with the promised arrival of a newborn Lebowski. The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers sheds new light on these cinematic visionaries and their films' stirring philosophical insights. From Blood Simple to No Country for Old Men, the Coens' films feature characters who hunger for meaning in shared human experience -- they are looking for answers. A select few of their protagonists find affirmation and redemption, but for many others, the quest for answers leads, at best, only to more questions.
- Author BiographyMark T. Conard is assistant professor of philosophy at Marymount College. He is the series editor of The Philosophy of Popular Culture series and the editor of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Film Noir, The Philosophy of Neo-Noir, and The Philosophy of Martin Scorsese. He lives in New York, New York.
- PublisherThe University Press of Kentucky
- Date of Publication15/03/2012
- SubjectFilm, TV & Radio
- Series TitleThe Philosophy of Popular Culture
- Place of PublicationLexington
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintThe University Press of Kentucky
- Weight456 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine25 mm
- Edited byMark T. Conard
- Edition Statement2nd
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