Thursday, 11 July 2013

Hope not far gone...

It’s that horror filled time of year – school holidays. Not any old fear-instilling school holidays, but the US summer holidays. ‘What does that mean to those of us in Australia?’ I hear you cry. Well, it results in a drought and a deep and foreboding darkness in my soul. It’s time for the onslaught of Hollywood blockbusters, in their explosive, glossy, excessive and expensive glory, reeking of quantity over quality.

The world slows, crawling along like a never ending slow motion picture show. But, don’t despair my friends hope is never lost for long. Despite the fact that you fear you might be lost in the wilderness forever, you know as well as I do, over that distant horizon are the Boxing Day releases, the films jostling for award season recognition, a time when all is right with the world (well, as long as the films are deserving of their reputation).

It is this hope, deluded or otherwise, that helps me navigate the seemingly endless winter. This year is no exception with a number of tantalising prospects. The first movie on my shortlist is Inside Llewyn Davis (Australian release date TBC).

The formidable brothers Coen, Ethan and Joel, return with a film that brings to life Greenwich Village, New York City in the 1960s. The film is loosely based on the life of a prominent figure of the burgeoning NY folk music scene, Dave van Ronk. A guy who may not spring to mind immediately (well, he didn’t for me at least), but I understand he rubbed shoulders with the likes of some of the biggest folk/blues icons – think, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

The film has already had some critical success winning the Cannes Jury Grand Prize where it premiered in May this year.

The preview hints at a return of the Coen brothers – quirky, funny and independent. What am I hoping for? A film that is funny like The Big Lebowski, musical like O Brother, Where Art Thou with the obligatory dash of individuality.

It is probably fairly obvious that music will play a central role in the film, but not to the extent it could be considered a musical (or so I understand). But it is one of movie’s aspects that really intrigues me – the 1960s, folk, a sound reminiscent of Bob Dylan and New York.

Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford and Sons and husband of the film’s lead actress Carey Mulligan, produced the soundtrack with T-Bone Burnett, who, notably, last worked with the Coen brothers on the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou. On the face of it, it would seem a logical fit, and the small snippets of music from the film that have been made available via previews and YouTube is authentic.  

Let’s hope all the moving parts – writing, directing, music, acting and cinematography – come together. I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed, because everyone knows that when the Coen brothers are good they’re unforgettably good. 

What are the films that you’re looking forward to at the moment?

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