Film Analysis: The Coen Brother's Films

1800 Words Jun 22nd, 2018 8 Pages
Speculation and analysis of the Coen brothers’ films has often portrayed them as drivers rather than reflectors of pop culture; NPR wrote earlier this year “The Coen brother's sparked a bluegrass revival with taheir 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? – will they do the same for folk with their latest movie Inside Llewyn Davis?”1 But the posing of this question and the assumption of Inside Llewyn Davis as a top-down culture creator ignores that folk has always maintained a strong presence in American culture, and suggesting that a single film can bring folk ‘back into style’ ignores folk’s ongoing status as a key tenet of American culture and identity; as sociologist Leo Marx writes in his study of culture and technology's interactions …show more content…
And given this framework as well, it can be theorized that the folk song has become an impossibility in mainstream American culture – an impossibility coming to pass likely due to the invention of recorded sound, with which its demise chronologically coincides. What was once unfixed and evolving was now set in time forever in the grooves of vinyl, later to be transcribed into binary 1s and 0s; what was once anonymous now had a performer, arranger, producer, and perhaps even a composer stamped on the cover art, slowly becoming the product of individual egos instead of communities. The music industry would even begin to strip away the folk song's identity as regional and local, slowly blurring the lines between distinct regional musics with global distribution: audience bases were not one's local community but arenas to be marketed and sold to, and often for the sake of sales, different region's distinct styles would be blended, changed, or mislabeled by record companies. Finally, the incorporation of folk into the music industry would change the most fundamental level of its definition. What had been created for a community as a means of shared expression and the passing on of community values and stories had become something commercial, something consumable, something produced,
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