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‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Offers Window On ‘Folk Era’ Music—and Politics | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Offers Window On ‘Folk Era’ Music—and Politics

Still from ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

Still from ‘Inside Llewyn Davis.’ (Courtesy of CBS Films.)

I’m not a big Coen brothers fan, but for nearly two years I have followed the filming and unveiling of their Inside Llewyn Davis, which opens tomorrow in a few theaters. That’s partly because I lived and worked in Greenwich Village for many years, but more than that: I am old enough (ouch) to remember watching Hootenanny on TV every week—not knowing what to make of some guy named Pete Seeger getting banned—and then growing absorbed in the early careers of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan.

The New York Times already has a review online. It’s quite favorable. We already knew the T-Bone Burnett music, for it was swell, based on excerpts on YouTube and live shows. Dave Van Ronk, whose memoir helped inspire it (though he was quite different from the main character, trust me), has also gotten a good deal of well-deserved ink this week.

Dylan’s publicity this week has been of another sort (a ridiculous “hate crime” charge in France). I haven’t seen the film yet so I can’t say how strongly, and fairly, it portrays the folk protest/politics of the early-’60s era, but we know it’s in there.

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A Showtime “concert” doc is coming a week from Friday—see trailer below, featuring a Mumford and the great Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. And below that, a full clip from the film of trio (with “Llewyn” joined by Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver) doing a goofy “Please Mr. Kennedy”:

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