Just attended an excellent day-school on the Coen Brothers, run by Alan Seaman at Cinema City in Norwich, UK. Wonderful reminder of the richness of their work. I am bewitched by their gallery of Americans, weird, comic, loveable, repulsive, tragic. they exhibit an outsiders’ sensibility, and yet their films could only have been made by American insiders.
Take O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000) which I write about in NFGG: it is a musical comedy set in the Deep South. But it is also a drama about the culture of damnation that comes out of Bible-belt America. The Coens, like many Americans I suspect, view Mississippi from the outside, but they have also grasped its inner nature.
Incidentally I write as well about their magnificent Western, True Grit (2010) and its theme of Biblical vengeance, compared and contrasted with the films of Kieslowski. So there.