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Are the Coen Brothers tackling Bob Dylan’s Greenwich Village?

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, Oscar Isaac in a bob dylan style role in Greenwich village

The trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis has just gone online under the hidden youtube account of ildatthegaslight.

The film isn’t explicitly based on the life of any one real-world musician but with it’s primary source text being Dave Van Ronk’s book “The Mayor of MacDougal Street”, it’s not hard to work out that the film will be peppered with subtle references to performers acting like (but not acting as) contemporaries like Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Tom Paxton. While Van Ronk is a well-regarded singer, it’s allusions to his heavyweight contemporary Dylan that are likely to bring in audiences.

The film stars Oscar Isaac as the titular star with his co-star from Drive Carey Mulligan starring opposite. It would appear that her character Jean Berkey is a “Mary from Peter, Paul and Mary” style character. A hair-straightened Justin Timberlake plays her on-screen husband Jim, while regular Coen-collaborator John Goodman is also in there in the grumpy manager role. It’s also handy that Garrett Hedlund is still driving the same car he was in for a lot of Walter Salles’ On the Road. T-Bone Burnett is in charge of the music so even if the story isn’t up to much at least the tunes will be worthwhile.

Anyway what’s most striking about the trailer is the visual look and colour palette being used by the Coen brothers. They are working with a new D.P., Bruno Delbonnel, best known up until know for his work on Amélie and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The image at the top of this post bears a striking similarity to the work of photographers like Don Hunstein who shot the front cover for Bob Dylan’s 1963 classic LP “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”. Some of those photos are below.

And in case there you don’t think this post is multimedia-heavy enough we’ve embedded a clip from the AV Club, “Walking the streets of Bob Dylan’s Greenwich Village” and a youtube clip of Van Ronk talking about his early days in the village at the bottom of the post.

Inside Llewyn Davis doesn’t have any release dates scheduled for the US, UK or Ireland. Cannes and a wide release this winter is most likely…

EDIT: two great links have since been posted.
1) Macdougal Street Homesick Blues (New York Times chat with Joel Coen)
2) Donald Clarke of the Irish Times on the trailer




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Nigel loves stupid films almost as much as he likes clever films. He'll watch anything but is usually drawn to documentaries, North American independent films, Irish cinema and gung-ho, balls-to-the-walls Hollywood blockbusters. Here's what he's been watching.