794 Inside Llewyn Davis

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swo17
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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#202 Post by swo17 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:40 am

Rather unexpectedly, The Criterion Collection presents Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
I too was surprised that they released it in OAR :wink:

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#203 Post by cdnchris » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:44 am

I need to fire my editor.

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Mr Sausage
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Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)

#204 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:36 am

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, May 9th

Members have a two week period in which to discuss the film before it's moved to its dedicated thread in The Criterion Collection subforum. Please read the Rules and Procedures.

This thread is not spoiler free. This is a discussion thread; you should expect plot points of the individual films under discussion to be discussed openly. See: spoiler rules.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

I encourage members to submit questions, either those designed to elicit discussion and point out interesting things to keep an eye on, or just something you want answered. This will be extremely helpful in getting discussion started. Starting is always the hardest part, all the more so if it's unguided. Questions can be submitted to me via PM.

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domino harvey
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Re: Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)

#205 Post by domino harvey » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:14 am

Given that like half the board has seen this movie, you'd think someone would say something. Is this the end of Criterion Film Club?

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Black Hat
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Re: Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)

#206 Post by Black Hat » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:28 am

DH it certainly shouldn't be, but you are giving the impression this is the outcome you're rooting for.

You've seen the film I imagine, I haven't, so perhaps kicking off a discussion would be more beneficial instead of repeatedly asking if the film club is dead.

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Drucker
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Re: Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)

#207 Post by Drucker » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:29 am

I haven't wanted to speak up explicitly, but it was fun while it lasted. I'm happy to end the film club. But the only films that seem to generate a ton of discussion are the most popular ones (The Game I remember was a huge thread). It makes me think people aren't actually sitting down to watch the film when it comes up, but just talking about the films they already know well enough not to re-watch.

Honestly, I started to write about this film as I loved it, but found most of the discussion in the original thread had already informed my understanding of the film and made many great points. And I have only seen about half of the Coen's films (haven't seen Fink, Simple Man, Miller's Crossing) and need to revisit most what I have seen. So I didn't really feel comfortable trying to make a sweeping connection between Davis and the rest of their films.

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Re: Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)

#208 Post by domino harvey » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:31 am

Black Hat wrote:DH it certainly shouldn't be, but you are giving the impression this is the outcome you're rooting for.
What in the world? If I wanted it to die I wouldn't have just made a post guilting y'all into commenting (same as I did last round, to no effect)

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Re: Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)

#209 Post by Black Hat » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:34 am

I'm glad this was your intention, but when you framed it how you did what you're going to generate discussion on is the viability of the film club itself as evidenced by my post and Drucker's.

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Sloper
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Re: Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)

#210 Post by Sloper » Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:35 pm

The film club is always going to be hit-and-miss; it's a shame that discussion isn't more plentiful (or heated), but not especially surprising. Usually when I don't participate it's because I don't own or haven't seen the film, but I know I also don't get around to returning to a discussion as often as I'd like to - I tend to get pockets of time when I can post something, and then work piles up again. But I think it would be a shame to stop it altogether, and looking back over the last few months there have been some pretty active threads. Do the Right Thing garnered a lot of attention, there were quite a few posts on Ran...and even when only two people participate, and each of them only posts once, that's still some kind of meaningful conversation about films that wouldn't otherwise have happened. At best, the film club has produced some really stimulating discussion, and it's certainly prompted me to discover and/or re-evaluate all sorts of films and film-makers. It's also nice to have a kind of 'project' to work on for a couple of weeks: there wasn't much interest in Lang's Indian Epic, but I liked having an excuse to binge-watch my Fritz Lang collection (and David Kalat commentary collection). For my own part, I have to say I preferred it when the votes took place a couple of weeks in advance of each discussion, and am not sure the change of timing has prompted more people to engage.

I considered posting on this film, but also remembered the existing thread containing some fairly substantial discussion already. I also hesitated because I don't have many positive things to say about it. Oscar Isaac is brilliant, and I loved all the musical sequences. But on the whole, this film struck me as cold and sadistic. I like the idea of telling the story of a suffering artist who is neither especially innocent nor an unappreciated genius, but is simply very talented and unable to find an outlet or audience for his talent, due to a combination of bad luck and bad decisions. However, in practice it just felt like the film was arbitrarily coming up with ways to torture its protagonist. When it got to the point where he hits and lames the cat he had abandoned earlier, I just gave up trying to figure out how I was supposed to be responding to this story. On the one hand, the film seems to want us to identify with Llewyn and feel that he's a victim of various forces that are outside his control; on the other hand, it seems to want us to stand back from him and judge him for his moral failings. The latter side of the equation became more and more dominant as the film went on, and since I identified quite strongly with Llewyn this made watching his descent a particularly miserable experience.

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Re: Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)

#211 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:22 pm

My take on this movie has always been that it is essentially about how hard it is to be poor, in ruthless detail- I don't see it as a moralistic film, but one in which a lot of the moralistic judgments placed on someone who is trapped in the way Llewyn is can be seen to have underlying roots in the physical and material realities of homelessness and of living hand to mouth, moment to moment. Llewyn is constantly tired, aggravated, and mean, in part because he is a deeply wounded person to begin with, but also in part because he's physically and emotionally exhausted nearly all the time. He makes a lot of very short term decisions- notably taking money up front for what turns out to be a hit single, such that he loses out on long term gains- because he's put in a position where he has to think in the short term about everything. He strains his friendships by asking his friends and acquaintances for more than they are comfortable giving him, because it is the only way he can maintain a place to sleep and other basic necessities. He can't even give up properly, because he can't afford to repurchase his merchant marine's license, which he lost because of further short term decision making. Even stepping in a puddle becomes a disaster, because he has nowhere to go to dry off and no means to change his pants.

I suppose you can be moralist about all this, and say that Llewyn is bringing all this on himself, but I feel like it's quite the opposite- it's as though the Coens have taken the inexplicable cruelty of the universe depicted in A Serious Man and given it a very clear and explicable cause. I do not want to lay too much claim to poverty for myself, but I have been in a situation where I was living very much like Llewyn, scrambling to have a place to sleep and making stupid short term decisions, and the movie felt agonizingly familiar to me, and Llewyn an intensely sympathetic character.

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Drucker
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Re: Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)

#212 Post by Drucker » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:13 pm

Part of the reason I didn’t try to add to the discussion as I’ve mentioned is that I have a pretty big gap of Coen films I haven’t seen, and several I have only seen once, years ago. But what strikes me about this film is that it takes lots of things the Coens already do well, and puts them in one place.

Sloper and Matrix both discuss their different reactions to the cruel way Llewyn is treated throughout the film. It’s obviously not new for the Coens to derive laughter from the misery of a character (whether Jerry Lundegaard, Donny, or Julian Marty). To construct the film around his misery lends a focus to the film. I also think that Coens generally focus on a group of people in their films, and while there is an entire community around Llewyn, it is more clearly about him, and a pure character study, than the other films of theirs I have seen.

The discussion of time, confusion surrounding it, and its abstraction really interested me in the film and I was thinking of the way the Coens use time in other films. O Brother Where Art Thou and Big Lebowski, while having more traditional plots, and more of a clear start and end to them, exist in a similar manner. While there is clearly a time period the stories take place in, it feels like their stories never start and end. In other words, when Pulp Fiction, or Drive end, I feel as though the characters have lives that continue. The film often leads us to believe this!

I don’t feel that way about many Coen Brothers films, especially Llewyn Davis. Not that we are seeing films about their entire lives, but that these goofy characters are all living in circles. O Brother Where Art Thou, Raising Arizona, Big Lebowski are all stories where it feels as though these ridiculous characters are doomed in a sense to repeat the same mistakes in life over and over again. To go through the same stories and keep living the same life, on repeat, for eternity. Llewyn Davis just seems to do it more literally than the others, but it’s not the only story of theirs I feel this way about. What is different, is the optimistic ending, where it feels like Llewyn may be getting it together. I question whether protagonists in Coens films ever really “learn their lesson” and that feeds my feeling that they are doomed to repeat the same stories over and over forever.

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Re: Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)

#213 Post by knives » Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:49 pm

Jeff wrote:
Superswede11 wrote:The theatre I saw Inside Llewyn Davis at turned off the projector before the end of the credits, so can anyone confirm this? And, if so, any ideas as to its meaning in the context of the film? I know that the Passover has something to do with an angel of death, which fits snugly with events in the film, but I'm a little rusty on my Biblical stories so I could be missing something.
It's definitely there, at the very end of the credits alongside the MPAA logo, etc. I think it's just the Coens having a laugh.
Just saw this and it's a reference to a poster in Goldfien's room above the couch Davis is sleeping in which has kosher for passover written in Hebrew. Though if I were in a silly mood I could say that explains the seven/ eight day problem mentioned earlier.

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#214 Post by aox » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:40 pm

I don't know where my head was in 2013 when I first saw this in the theater, but I borderline hated this film when it was released. It was certainly my least favorite CB film (though I have not seen some of the middle period films like Ladybugs or Intolerable Cruelty). I caught this film again this afternoon and I was completely floored. It's now a top 3 Coen film for me. It...just clicked this time around. The analysis of depression in general, the at least two interpretations of the cat, examination of loss, the examination of stubborn refusal, and the loose use of cyclical time with the opening and conclusion which I didn't understand the first time around (and how the actual bookend scenes aren't meant to be taken so literally). I remember loathing the shoehorning of Bob Dylan into the end as a cheap move unbecoming of the Coen's oeuvre, but even that made more sense to me this time around symbolically.

It's been seven years, and I have changed a lot in that time. I'm now curious about movies I loathed in my 20s and 30s by directors I normally love because I either at the time lacked life experience or....whatever. :-k Really looking forward to watching this again.

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#215 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:58 pm

Welcome! It's a big tent with plenty of room left, even after a shocking number of best of the decade lists featured this film, considering its initially muted reception.

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#216 Post by aox » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:16 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:58 pm
Welcome! It's a big tent with plenty of room left, even after a shocking number of best of the decade lists featured this film, considering its initially muted reception.
Yeah, I think that subconsciously piqued my interest to give it another shot. I found its consistent and almost ubiquitous inclusion on so many lists over the past few months extremely baffling.

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#217 Post by Matt » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:37 pm

aox wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:40 pm
I have not seen some of the middle period films like Ladybugs
My day just got a huge lift thinking about the Coens working with Rodney Dangerfield and Jackée Harry.

But yeah, this is definitely my favorite Coens film, and I am not generally a fan (don't even care for Fargo all that much).

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#218 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:41 pm

Matt wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:37 pm
aox wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:40 pm
I have not seen some of the middle period films like Ladybugs
My day just got a huge lift thinking about the Coens working with Rodney Dangerfield and Jackée Harry.
I imagine Jeffrey Wells has a copy of the tasteless poster hanging up at home

Image

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#219 Post by aox » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:53 pm

:lol: Whoops! Anyone seen both? Which one is better?

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#220 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:10 pm

aox wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:40 pm
The analysis of depression in general, the at least two interpretations of the cat, examination of loss, the examination of stubborn refusal, and the loose use of cyclical time with the opening and conclusion which I didn't understand the first time around (and how the actual bookend scenes aren't meant to be taken so literally).
It's definitely one of my favorites too, and while I'm sure I'll go into a deep analysis eventually (this is one of the most existential films I've ever seen and fits in with my own life-as-joke worldview and personal philosophies pretty perfectly), lately I've been thinking a lot about it in a different shade of light as a relatively new cat owner over the last year. The cat's existence in the story gives way to plenty of interpretations, but from even an ineffable angle, the relationship between a man and a cat is so emotional in ways I can hardly describe. Is it because both animals put up walls and hide their emotions/affections for the other, venture into solipsistic isolations, push back against others and rarely show that they need another unless as a reactionary measure? I don't know, but of course I'm trying to make this unexpectedly-portrayed strong connection explainable. All I do know right now is that when Oscar Isaac shows feeling, in the subtlest of ways, it reminds me of a cat, a fragile being trying to be strong against an unforgiving world; and when he shows his love for this cat, all the loss, rejection, vulnerability, and desperation for affection comes out... maybe not thrown in our faces, but that makes it all the more powerful. I relate a lot to Isaac in this movie, not the surface-level stuff but the underlying defenses, self-destruction, and emotional parts. I hate playing this game, but if there is an animal I'm most like, it's probably a cat, and I think Llewyn would be too. I want go home and watch this with my cat right now.

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#221 Post by aox » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:37 pm

I saw the cat as either representing his dead partner and his need to let go, or representing him and his station in life.

The incredible thing about that is the cat seems so central to the film; however, the Coens have said it was a complete afterthought they added since the film doesn't "really have a plot". The cat just seems so central that it goes beyond a trivial conceit or plot device.

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#222 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:05 pm

Yeah I don’t see the Coens being very didactic personally, but I think they carry this existential worldview and an energy behind this perspective that allows for their films to steer into this realm of identification with the vagueness of experience. The cat’s role in the film certainly isn’t thought out in specifics but if it was I doubt the film would be as interesting or widely relatable.

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#223 Post by Big Ben » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:16 pm

I coincidentally watched this again last night and again pleased with how much I still liked it. The one thing that stuck out to me was how much the film emphasized missed opportunities not due to necessarily melodramatic reasons but fully natural, organic ones that escalate out of control later down the line. For instance, much of Llewyn's financial issues might have been alleviated had he not been needing money for an abortion which prevented him from signing the necessary paperwork to get him royalties for the eventual hit song he performed in. That's a realistic and unfortunate outcome of an impulsive but seemingly necessary (We of course learn that to not be the case later) decision he needed to make at the time. It's a sad, occasionally very funny slice of life film about someone who is likely to remain at the sidelines due to a complex mixture of circumstance and personal flaws. One of my favorite Coens.

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#224 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:51 pm

Big Ben wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:16 pm
It's a sad, occasionally very funny slice of life film about someone who is likely to remain at the sidelines due to a complex mixture of circumstance and personal flaws.
And like their best work, they’re sympathetic to these ‘flaws’ and leave open the opportunity that the characteristics are only defective so long as the person becomes oblivious to them, making them instead a flawed relationship between person and environment and sourcing the problem as awareness rather than inherent toxic parts of the self incapable of being unbound. This is why I see the Coens as cynical about the world but cautiously optimistic about the person. They drag their characters through hell but even if they don’t always offer a markedly clear development or visible promise, there seems to be a possibility in their worldview that the person can grow to acceptance and change an attitude if not the world, maybe in a different story but this is the existential hope in a nutshell and one I admire for their cryptic use of it under the blanket of dark humor and pain.

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Re: 794 Inside Llewyn Davis

#225 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:21 pm

Liked it on first watching (screened) and liked it more on re-watching (home video). One of these days I'll watch it a third time. ;-)

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