Going down TONIGHT!
An excellent video essay that illustrates how two of Coen brothers’ films parallel and diverge from each other in the portrayals of their law(wo)men.
In retrospect, this snowbound crime drama seems like a warm-up for No Country For Old Men in much the same way Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha laid the groundwork for Ran. Here’s the thing: Kagemusha is still a great movie—and more intimate in it way than its epic follow-up—and so is Fargo, which may lack the mythic pull of No Country, but makes up for it with two unforgettable lead characters, played by William H. Macy and Frances McDormand, who together express the Coens’ vision of the world. Both come from common Minnesota stock, but one is petty and small, acting out on a cowardly instinct to take control of his life, and the other is the embodiment of simple decency, forging a private paradise with her husband out of fricassee and three-cent stamps. —Primer: The Coen Brothers by Scott Tobias
Joel and Ethan Coen discuss the writing and filming of Fargo, its precise characterizations, acting performances and the visual style that emphasizes the spiritual landscape of the bleak Midwestern setting. —The Coen Brothers: Fargo, Crime and Realism
The Coen brothers’ approach to storyboarding is well documented; were there any significant spontaneous moments you would like to share, instances in which the filming departed from the storyboards?
The storyboards are continually developed as we prep a film and usually incorporate what the locations have to offer by the time we get to shooting. There were some spontaneous changes to the storyboards based on the light and so on, but not many. Quite often we shoot fewer shots than are boarded as we see how one shot can work for more than might have been intended. We played a scene between the two sheriffs in a different shot to the ones boarded. It was raining that night and, partly to save time and because I liked the idea of the two profiles in silhouette, we shot the scene in the one angle against the rear wall of the coffee shop. I think that if and when something changes it is, most often, to connect or simplify the coverage.
The motel-room scene with Ed Tom and Chigurh invites multiple viewings and much speculation as to the literal, physical presence of Chigurh behind the door when Bell walks into the room. Would you care to comment as to your reading of this scene? Is the viewer to see Chigurh as the “ghost” Ed Tom references, or is there a more practical answer to this mystery?
I think the book is as elusive as the film on this point, but Chigurh is evil and, perhaps, the devil. Whether he’s something or someone who we ourselves have created or just a reflection of our own fears, we don’t know. —Just a cameraman: An Interview with Roger Deakins
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Tender Tuesday: This cat is not enjoying its first day out of the house.
Check out DCTV Member Sasha Wortzel at Newfest this year with We Came to Sweat and Grit and Grind!