Inside Llewyn Davis

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by HiFi Guy 008, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Daddyland, CA
    There were a few keys for me, regarding the symbolism. A big one was Abraxas if you remember hearing the protagonist emphatically yelling into the phone that he didn't listen to Abraxas, doesn't want Abraxas, etc. Of course this is symbolic of rejecting God. The creepiest symbolism was looking out the window and seeing a big parking lot, during his discussion with one of the rabbis. The symbolism of the parking lot is existential threat, nuclear holocaust and annihilation. Indeed the closing moments had the tornado or hurricane bearing down on the parking lot just in case anyone didn't get it. Of course all three rabbis were made out to be buffoons.
  2. Nice Marmot

    Nice Marmot Nothin’ feels right but doin’ wrong anymore

    Tryon NC
    What does the beginning have to do with the rest of the movie? I’ve always wondered if this was a modern story of Job and if the protagonist was related to and cursed by the characters at the beginning. Comparing the protagonist to Job seems too heavy, though. Maybe it’s based on a lessor known (to us lay people) Jewish teaching or proverb? Maybe I’m looking too deeply?
    GregM likes this.
  3. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Daddyland, CA
    Good points. I think the Job connection is just a launching off point regarding a man in an obscure land far from Israel who is exploring the relationship between God and human suffering. The Coens made it into a modern statement piece.
    Nice Marmot, Dan C and trumpet sounds like this.
  4. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident

    I understand the appeal. In fact, I’ve always said that if you randomly dropped into the film at any point and watched just 10-15 minutes, it’s fascinating. But watching it from beginning to end...

    I suppose that’s a personal issue. I was absorbed by the story and film making, beginning to end.

    I suspect that I am.
  5. Phil12

    Phil12 Radiant Radish

    What stuck with me is the film's existentialist nature. You feel with Llewyn when he stands in front of the building where he is to meet an agent, when he is dropped off and makes his way through the snow, the sleeping on couches, the bathroom scene, the recurring misery and mediocrity of life Llewyn experiences, etc. From the start, you realize: this man is not gonna make it... which is, let's face it, the fate of countless many.
    Mazzy likes this.
  6. What I found interesting is that he rejects his one possible break- when the record producer in Chicago says that he doesn't want any of Davis's own songs, but he's willing to give him some session work. And Davis turns him down.

    Bad move. Crucially bad move. Davis is too proud for his own good. He imagines that he's being true to his art, but it's actually just youthful obduracy. There's no downside to getting your foot in the door of a studio. In the music business, success or failure can often hang on a single opportunity like that one. But it isn't the ideal scenario he had in his mind, so he spurns it. After putting all of that energy into the Chicago trip, and dealing with all of the hassles along the way.

    Bob Dylan's first recording credit was playing harmonica on a Harry Belafonte album! Dylan wasn't too proud to start off as a bit player on someone else's record. I have a hunch that the Coens drew on that as inspiration for the scene.
    enro99 likes this.
  7. And the crodeginess and bitterness of Dave Van Ronk
  8. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident

    I’d say that you’re overthinking these issues. Llewyn just seems to be a guy without a clear direction in his life. A musician with potential, and a past with regret and tragedy. This is set in the pre-Dylan era, and one has to understand the insular world of the “folk purists” of the time. Llewyn is looking for recognition, and yet resisting it at the same time. It’s that conflict which fuels his character, and the narrative of the story...from my perspective.
    IronWaffle, fluffskul and somnar like this.
  9. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident

    I finally got to sit down and watch this film last week. I loved it...classic Coen Brothers.

    It’s a bit odd and quirky, and somewhat subdued, but all of the characters have a distinctive place in the story, and all were quite interesting. And that low key Coen Brothers humor is wonderful. Llewyn is just a singular guy trying to find his place in an uncertain and complicated world, and somehow manages to carry on. It’s the kind of movie that I really enjoy. The Coens score high with this one.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
    IronWaffle, fluffskul and Mazzy like this.
  10. fluffskul

    fluffskul Forum Resident

    albany, ny
    Wrong Coen Brothers movie.

    "A Simple Man" is the 21st century Book of Job. I doubt they'd intentionally do the same thing twice. BUT, "hard luck" or I guess "Job-like" characters can be found in all of their films that I've ever seen. So maybe you are onto something. But if you are looking for a clear-ish modern take on Job, "A Simple Man" is the film, much more so than ILD.
    Mazzy and Nice Marmot like this.
  11. Nice Marmot

    Nice Marmot Nothin’ feels right but doin’ wrong anymore

    Tryon NC
    The thread had side tracked and we were talking about A Simple Man.
    fluffskul likes this.
  12. IronWaffle

    IronWaffle The brief elaboration of a tube

    Pardon my pedantry, but it’s “A Serious Man.” I should know; I’m a simple man with a serious avatar.

    fluffskul and Nice Marmot like this.
  13. Nice Marmot

    Nice Marmot Nothin’ feels right but doin’ wrong anymore

    Tryon NC
    Dammit, we had this all worked out a few posts back :laugh: .
    fluffskul and IronWaffle like this.
  14. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Britain, Europe
    Very late, but I finally caught up with this film on television late last night.

    I generally like the Coen Brothers work (I’ve yet to see a film of theirs I dislike). I’m interested in the period and subject matter of ILD, so my expectations were higher than usual and, though I’d read some review of the film, my expectations were high.

    My expectations were met. The period is beautifully realised - that’s exactly what I imagine NYC to have been like in the early sixties, populated by earnest bearded left-wing intellectuals living in apartments that were either dive or crowded with posters and objets d’art.

    There has been some commentary on how unsympathetic the ‘hero’ is - the Coens’ go out of their way to make us not care about him (he’s especially alienating if you happen to be a cat lover) but I did find myself getting involved in his story. One of the thousands of artists who had talent but weren’t quite marketable enough to gain attention - the audition for ‘Bud Grossman’ (a name a bit too close to comfort, perhaps?) certainly rang true and I think the line ‘I don’t hear a lot of money here’ was actually taken from the manager who turned down Jackson Browne?

    The ‘cat motif’ continues to intrigue me. I will have to watch it at least once again to figure that out.
    vegafleet and Bill like this.
  15. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Daddyland, CA
    "Where's its scrotum?!"

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  16. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Forum Resident

    The 'cat motif' is the reason I will never watch this film again and disliked it greatly. I was really looking forward to it and thought I'd love the film. But the cat stuff just broke my heart. I am a cat lover.

    Just the thought of that cat's sad little confused face when Llewyn leaves it in the car tears me up. I can't deal with that.
    Lightworker likes this.
  17. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Daddyland, CA
    Think of it as a symbol, a sort of literary or visual device, instead of a cat. I'm sure no animals were harmed in the filming of Inside Llewyn Davis.

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