It almost seems as though the Coen Brothers have been genetically hardwired to make films. As a kid Joel, the oldest of the two Brothers, bought a vivitar super 8 camera with money he had saved mowing people’s lawns. Soon after buying the camera they put it to work filming remakes of movies they had seen on television. Their first attempt at this was based on a film called Henry Kissinger, The Man on the Go. This was soon followed by a movie they titled “Zeimers in Zambia”, based on a Cornel Wilde movie entitled, The Naked Prey (1966). Such early romps marked the beginning of their love affair with filmmaking.
The Coen Brothers write, direct and produce their own films, and since their first big screen picture, Blood Simple (1984), they’ve won more awards than you can shake a stick at. It’s perhaps quite striking how they hardly ever disagree about anything, and it’s because of the extent to which their vision and ideas for the movies they make converge, they’ve earned the nickname “The two-headed director” by others in the business. The Coen Brothers have won a plethora of awards from the Golden Globes, BAFTA, Academy Awards and the Directors Guild of America. Among their awards is a 2007 Academy Award for Best Director, and a Palme d’Or awarded to them in 1991, the highest prize that can be awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.
Their movies are often described as dark comedy, and include such titles as Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000), No Country for Old Men (2007) and True Grit (2010).
Their next project will be a film about the New York coffeehouse Folk music scene in the mid 20th century. The film will be a biopic on the life of Dave Van Ronk, an American folk singer born in Brooklyn, NY in 1936, who died in 2002. Van Ronk earned the nickname the “Mayor of MacDougal Street.” He was widely known for his musical talents and the way he could draw a large crowd with relative ease due his storytelling prowess. Greenwich Village became his stomping ground and the smokey coffeehouses there were his regular haunts. It was a culture in itself. And one in which he thrived on.
The Coens said last month that their next film would have a “Heavy music focus” and “Lean toward naturalism.”
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