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Positively Folk Street: The Coen Brothers Return With a Film on Greenwich Village in the Early 1960s | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Positively Folk Street: The Coen Brothers Return With a Film on Greenwich Village in the Early 1960s

Last August, I posted here that I was surprised to read in the New York Times fall movie preview that the Coen brothers (not my favorite directors, to say the least) were coming out with a film called Inside Llewyn Davis focusing on one of my favorite subjects: the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s.  

Now, trust me, that was a bit before my time there (though not by much), but I was a huge fan of Dylan and some of the others who haunted the Gaslight, the Bitter End, the Kettle of Fish and other spots back then, when it too was no country for old men.

The film (which didn’t make it for the fall) stars Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan, with Adam Driver (of Girls) and John Goodman, and Oscar Isaac in the title role. The title character is not really Bob Dylan but the film apparently opens in 1961, the year Bob came to the Village, and features a young folkie sleeping on couches and scheming to make it big, but without Bob’s drive. (Actually, it is said to be based partly or largely on the memoir of somewhat older folkie Dave Van Ronk.) Part of it was indeed shot in the Village.

There was no trailer out, but back then I noted a full review of some early edition of the script, complaining about weak plot (yet when has that stopped the Coens before?). “The script delivers on all the beloved Coen beats: fascinating and bizarre characters, clever dialogue, well-crafted scenes, people surnamed Grossman, etc.” Since it’s the Coens, I wouldn’t bet on much of a political focus, but who knows.

Now, just out this week, is the first trailer, with Dylan’s very early song “Farewell” running through it (that costs some dough). No release date yet, but here’s a review of the trailer and cast. Looks promising, maybe:

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