Coen it alone

The inimitable oeuvre of cinema’s zygotic brothers
by
ABR Arts 21 December 2021

Coen it alone

The inimitable oeuvre of cinema’s zygotic brothers
by
ABR Arts 21 December 2021
Ethan and Joel Coen during filming of Barton Fink, 1991 (Circle Films/Ronald Grant Archive/Alamy)
Ethan and Joel Coen during filming of Barton Fink, 1991 (Circle Films/Ronald Grant Archive/Alamy)

They have always been inseparable in the public imagination, the Coen brothers, a zygotic artistic collaboration with an almost primal indivisibility. While for years Joel was credited as director and Ethan as producer, this was due entirely to a quirk in the Directors Guild of America that disallowed duel directorial credits, unless members were an ‘established duo’. This became official in 2004: they are now the established duo of commercial film – one would have to go back to Powell and Pressburger to find a cinematic partnership of such richness and breadth. With the release of Joel’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, the first film directed solely by one brother, it seems a good time to drill down into the brothers’ quintessence: what is a Coen brothers’ film, and what could or should we expect from a Coen brother film? Is the zygote finally subdividing?

From the New Issue

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.