Scene Analysis - The Big Lebowski

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GE3401 – TB2

Exploring English Cinema

Scene Analysis

“Scattering Donny’s Ashes” Scene in The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998)

Student Name: Fan Ho Nga, Gloria
Student ID: 52948216

“Scattering Donny’s Ashes” Scene in The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998)

The Big Lebowski (1998) by the Coen Brothers is no doubt a comedy film about friendships between three bowling buddies with differing personalities who met and stuck together as friends by choice in Los Angeles when the U.S. army invaded the Middle East. The Coen Brothers managed to capture the spirit of friendship bonding, conflicts, characters’ internal struggles as well as personal desires with exceptional cinematography and mise-en-scene
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In your wisdom, Lord, you took him. As you took so many bright flowering young men at Khe Sanh, at Langdok, at Hill 364! These young men gave their lives. And so did Donny. Donny, who loved bowling.’ The reason why the director placed this line in the eulogy is to show how Walter considered this an opportunity to a closure of years and years wasted in memories. The Coen Brothers put a vivid, living proof of Walter being stuck in the past on screen via his costume throughout the movie with his trademark safari vest, amber lens aviator sunglasses and the military dog tag that he always kept close in the film.

Apart from the genuine friendship between the Dude, Walter and Donny, the eulogy dialogue also implies another layer of meaning from the movie concerning generation loss, changes and the cycle of life. Although the three main characters are bound together by bowling but Donny is the only one we ever do see bowl, in fact, we only seem to notice his existence at the bowling alley but his bowling results never did come to the Dude nor Walter’s notice. From the way how Donny let Walter call him names, swear at him and never really get to enjoy bowling’s fun, to Donny being scared to death with an heart attack caused by Nihilists attack or even after Donny’s death, when there is no family member but only Walter and the Dude to take care of his remains indicates a generation ignored and lost.

In the eulogy scene, the director used an unusual composition than

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