Joel & Ethan Coen: Tall Tales

Joel & Ethan Coen: Tall Tales

Joel & Ethan Coen: Tall Tales

Joel & Ethan Coen: Tall Tales

Joel & Ethan Coen: Tall Tales

Joel & Ethan Coen: Tall Tales

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Following the fraternal filmmakers' latest triumph at Cannes with their new film Inside Llewyn Davis (opening at TIFF Bell Lightbox on December 25), we enter the off-kilter universe of the Brothers Coen in this ten-film spotlight.

Films in Joel & Ethan Coen: Tall Tales

    • Fargo
    • Joel Coen
    • Frances McDormand won the Best Actress Academy Award as a pregnant Minnesota sheriff investigating a tangled kidnapping-and-murder case, in the Coen brothers' snow-capped black comedy.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Miller's Crossing
    • Joel Coen
    • The Coen brothers riff on the hard-boiled oeuvre of Dashiell Hammett in this 1930s-set gangster drama about a tight-lipped tough guy (Gabriel Byrne) who finds his loyalty to an Irish crime boss (Albert Finney) put to the test.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • No Country for Old Men
    • Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
    • Joel and Ethan Coen's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's modern-day Western won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Blood Simple
    • Joel Coen
    • Made on a shoestring budget, the Coens' celebrated debut feature is a twisty, tightly scripted and visually arresting homage to such film noir classics as Double Indemnity and Touch of Evil.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
    • Joel Coen
    • In 1930s Mississippi, three escaped convicts (George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson) attempt to retrieve a cache of stolen loot, in Joel and Ethan Coen's hilarious updating of Homer's Odyssey.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Raising Arizona
    • Joel Coen
    • Nicolas Cage gives one of his signature performances as the affable, loquacious, philosophical ex-con Herbert I. "Hi" McDunnough, who gets embroiled in a wild baby-kidnapping plot along with his ex-cop wife (Holly Hunter) in Joel and Ethan Coen’s cracked comedy.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Barton Fink
    • Joel Coen
    • The Coen brothers won the Palme d'Or at Cannes for this surreal, creepily funny tale of a New York playwright (John Turturro) who goes through the looking glass when he arrives in 1940s Hollywood to write for the movies.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • The Big Lebowski
    • Joel Coen
    • Jeff Bridges became a hero for the ages as one-time idealist, full-time apathetic, devoted bowler and unwilling pseudo-private eye Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski, in Joel and Ethan Coen's most popular and universally beloved film.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • A Serious Man
    • Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
    • A timid physics professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) in 1960s Minnesota finds his life crumbling around him, in Joel and Ethan Coen's hilarious, brilliant, and unfairly neglected modern-day take on the story of Job.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • True Grit
    • Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
    • Jeff Bridges added another colourful characterization to the Coens' rogues' gallery as grizzled, garrulous and ornery US Marshal Rooster Cogburn, in this spectacularly popular remake of the John Wayne classic.

    • No events playing at this time.

While sibling cineastes Joel and Ethan Coen have often been regarded as cinephilic genre revisionists — revisiting film noir in Blood Simple and The Man Who Wasn't There, 1940s screwball comedy in The Hudsucker Proxy, 1930s gangster movies in Miller's Crossing, and most recently the classic western in True Grit — one can also see in their work the influence of an even older tradition: the classic American folk tale, and specifically the classic American folk hero. While the towering statue of Paul Bunyan looming over the snowy wastes of Minnesota in Fargo is their most direct citation, it's not hard to see in the Coens' wild and woolly menagerie of crooks, wiseacres, nihilists and idealists a number of riffs on and reinventions of this distinctively American icon — whether in the classic form of True Grit's grizzled frontier marshal or the more curious guises of a pregnant Minnesota police chief (Fargo), a loquacious chain-gang escapee (O Brother, Where Art Thou? ), or a burned-out hippie with a bowling fixation and a tragically stained rug (The Big Lewbowski).

As their Cannes award-winning new film Inside Llewyn Davis (opening as a New Release at TIFF Bell Lightbox on December 25) continues the Coens' explorations of modern mythology — this time following a struggling young musician's odyssey through the legendary New York folk-music scene of the 1960s — this mini-retrospective reveals the thousand faces of the Coenesque folk hero, whether he (or she) is found in the Depression-era South, Bush I-era Los Angeles, or the wild modern-day West.

— Jesse Wente