Joel and Ethan Coen
(Contemporary Film Directors)
by R. Barton Palmer
About The Book
With landmark films such as Fargo, O Brother Where art Thou?, Blood Simple, and Raising Arizona, the Coen brothers have achieved both critical and commercial success. Proving the existence of a viable market for small films that are also intellectually rewarding, their work has exploded generic conventions amid rich webs of trans-textural references. In Joel and Ethan Coen, R. Barton Palmer argues that the Coen oeuvre also forms a central element in what might be called postmodernist filmmaking. Mixing high and low cultural sources and blurring genres like noir and comedy, the use of pastiche and anti-realist elements in films such as The Hudsucker Proxy and Barton Fink clearly fit the postmodernist paradigm. Palmer argues that for a full understanding of the Coen brothers unique position within film culture, it is important to see how they have developed a new type of text within general postmodernist practice that Palmer terms commercial/independent. Analyzing their substantial body of work from this generic framework is the central focus on this book.
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