mercoledì 6 novembre 2013

Inside Llewyn Davis

As you know, I love film-makers creating their own world.
An entire universe reduced to the scale of a microcosm, where you can recognize people, streets, rooms, songs, jokes, themes, words. A landscape that becomes familiar year after year, movie after movie: a place you can easily call “home”.
The Coen Brothers have been home for so many years, now, that I feel like I have known them since high school, or even before. From Blood Simple
on, I have never missed a single appointment with one of their films. I grew up with them and I hope to get old with them, especially because they are like good whisky: the older, the better. 
Ethan & Joel Coen
In October the Cinémathèque Française presented a complete retrospective of their work and held a special avant-première of their newest movie: Inside Llewyn Davis, Grand Prix du Jury at the last Cannes Film Festival.
The Coen Brothers were there and your Zazie was there too, of course! 
The film is out today in all French cinemas (in the United States will be released only in December) and I strongly suggest you not to miss it. Before the screening, Ethan & Joel Coen, later joined by actor Oscar Isaac (who plays the main role in the movie), had a conversation with Bernard Benoliel of the Cinémathèque.
They talked about their way of making movies: the first idea, the sources of inspirations (which can be different: a book or a news read in a newspaper, or the willing of seeing two specific actors playing together), how they write their dialogues, how they use storyboards, how they managed to produce their films.
When Isaac arrived on stage, to the question: “Do they always agree with each other while filming?” He answered: “Oh, no, I used to do whatever the last one came up and asked me to do!” While the Coen brothers explained how the choice of Isaac for the role almost imposed itself because it would have been impossible to find another person who could be such a good actor and a good musician at the same time.

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen and Bernard Benoliel
Oscar Isaac, Ethan & Joel Coen, Bernard Benoliel
Gaslight Café, Greenwich Village, New York 1961.
A man is playing a folk song in front of the audience: he is Llewyn Davis, and we are about to follow his life for few days. Llewyn is not exactly having a great time: his solo career (he used to be part of a duo, but the other guy killed himself) is not working at all, he doesn’t have a place to live, he doesn’t even have a coat to protect himself from the cold winter, and the girlfriend of one of his best friends is expecting a baby from him. And the worst part is: this is just the beginning. It looks like there is no end to the disasters Llewyn Davis is able to create or to go towards to. Will he find a way to escape to this catastrophic spiral? Who knows…
Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac)
Llewyn Davis character is quintessentially Coenian
He is, in fact, the epitome of Coens heroes: a perfect loser. A looser so stubborn in his pursuing of the worst, that is impossible not to love him for his humanity and his weakness. This is where the Coen Brothers are so good at: sketching a character full of flaws but in such a witty and smart way that the audience is immediately captured and taken with him. Life is awful, the world is a bad place, music doesn’t pay the rent, love is hard to find, but hey, a good sense of humour can save a man from the worst catastrophes.
The mise-en-scène, here, is pure joy: the reconstruction of the NY folk scene in the ‘60s is far from being flat or slightly false (as it is often the case in movies set in the past). The warm colours and splendid light provided by the French director of photography Bruno Delbonnel (Faust and Amélie, c’est lui!) make every scene beautiful and real, and the Coen brothers film in a masterly manner.
Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), Jim (Justin Timberlake) and Al Cody (Adam Driver)
The movie's key element, though, is the music. When the film is over you just want to run to the first CD shop (do they still exist, by the way?) and buy the Original Soundtrack. 
The Coens did the right thing choosing Oscar Isaac to play Llewyn Davis: he is really incredible, both as an actor and as a musician. The rest of the cast is amazing as well: John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, Adam Driver… they’re all p e r f e c t. Personally, I can’t stand Carey Mulligan, and I think she plays in a particularly dull and overdone way here. Plus, without short hair, she is totally uninteresting. This is, in my opinion, the only faux pas of the entire film.
As it happens to me with every movie I really love, I kept thinking about Inside Llewyn Davis for ages. 
I kept having flashes of some scenes: the NY streets under the rain, Llewyn face filmed very closely, the black twins smiling in the underground. And every time I felt a kind of nostalgic pang: when could I go back there again? I have to wait until the next Coens movie, I know.
But at least this is not an Adieu. Just an Aurevoir...

3 commenti:

  1. Grade Zazie! Sono da poco tornata dal cinema e trovo che la tua bella e precisa recensione descriva perfettamente il mio stato d'animo e le riflessioni avute all'uscita della sala. Sai se l'introduzione del personaggio di Pappi Corsicato (il proprietario del locale) é un omaggio al regista ?

    Maria Angela

  2. Mi trovo decisamente d'accordo con la tua recensione e sulla precisa analisi dei due registi e del film in generale, con "A proposito di Davis" i Coen hanno firmato l'ennesimo bel film Coeniano, in cui nom vediamo supereroi o altre cose di questo tipo, ma la vita nella sua monotonia e nella sua banalitá, ció dal punto di vista di un bel personaggio, uno dei perdenti piú belli dei Coen probabilmente. Comunque bella recensione.


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