Coen brothers

Coen brothers

▪ American filmmakers
      American filmmakers known for their stylish films that combine elements of comedy and drama and often centre around eccentric characters and convoluted plots. Though both brothers contributed to all phases of the filmmaking process, Joel Coen (b. Nov. 29, 1955, St. Louis Park, Minn., U.S.) was usually solely credited as the director, and Ethan Coen (b. Sept. 21, 1958, St. Louis Park) was nominally the producer, with the brothers sharing screenwriting credit and using the pseudonym “Roderick Jaynes” for editing.

      The children of university professors, the brothers showed an early interest in filmmaking, shooting home movies of their friends with a Super-8 camera. Joel refined his craft at the New York University Film School and after graduation found work as an assistant editor on low-budget horror films. Ethan, meanwhile, studied philosophy at Princeton University. After graduation he joined his brother in New York City, and together they began writing scripts for independent producers.

      The brothers garnered much attention in 1984 with Blood Simple, a sleek thriller that they cowrote and financed through private investors. The critical success of the film enabled the brothers to make a deal with an independent production company that granted them complete creative control. The films that followed highlighted the Coens' versatility and firmly established their reputation as idiosyncratic talents. Raising Arizona (1987) was an irreverent comedy about babies, Harley Davidsons, and high explosives, and the period drama Miller's Crossing (1990) focused on gangsters. Barton Fink, about an edgy, neurotic would-be writer, claimed the best picture, best director, and best actor awards at the 1991 Cannes international film competition, the first such sweep in the festival's history.

      The Coens turned to Hollywood to produce their fifth feature, The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), a fairy tale in which a small-town hayseed becomes the head of a big-time corporation. Written a decade earlier by the brothers and director Sam Raimi, the project boasted an all-star cast that included Paul Newman (Newman, Paul) and Tim Robbins, but it was a critical and financial flop. Fargo (1996) marked a return to both small-budget, independent filmmaking and the brothers' Minnesota roots. The film—a dark comedy that revolves around a botched kidnapping and the small-town police officer (played by Frances McDormand, Joel's wife) who investigates it—was nominated for seven Academy Awards (Academy Award) and won two (including a best original screenplay Oscar for the Coens). The brothers' next film, The Big Lebowski (1998), was a box-office disappointment but gained a massive cult following when it was released on video and DVD. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), a reimagining of Homer's Odyssey set in the Depression-era American South and starring George Clooney (Clooney, George), earned the brothers their second Oscar nomination for screenwriting. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) won rave reviews for its pitch-perfect film noir style.

      After a pair of broad comedies that failed to excite either the public or critics, the brothers earned accolades in 2007 with their atmospheric meditation on good and evil, No Country for Old Men, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy (McCarthy, Cormac)'s novel of the same name. The film won four Academy Awards, and the Coens received Oscars for best picture, best director, and best adapted screenplay. They followed that with Burn After Reading (2008), a CIA comedy starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Frances McDormand.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Coen — may refer to: Coen (bold) is a Germanic variant of the name Conrad , most popular in the Dutch language. It is originally spelled as Coenraad or Koenraad , with just the raad deleted off. Both variations are made up from two words: koen (meaning… …   Wikipedia

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  • Coen, Ethan and Joel — ▪ 1997       By 1996, after having made only six motion pictures, brothers Ethan and Joel Coen had established themselves among the most versatile filmmaking talents in the U.S. Joel wrote and directed, while Ethan wrote and produced. Their… …   Universalium

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