Merely Coensidence?: Relating Auteur Theory to the Films of Joel and Ethan Coen
Butts, Spencer C.
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In order to elucidate auteur theory and demonstrate its worthiness as a film theory through more practical means, the producer/director duo of Joel and Ethan Coen will be investigated thoroughly to determine whether or not they deserve consideration as auteurs. The criteria used to determine their worthiness will be based upon the previously defined characteristics of auteurs (like those advanced by Andrew Sarris and other critics and theorists). Along these lines, the mise-en-scene, color, sound and lighting used in each movie and the overall feel it lends to the work will be investigated. In addition, a close look at the camera use proves necessary in order to get a glimpse at the manner in which the Coens conceptualize their films and the specific look they choose to give them. More specifically, factors such as their genre-bending dark comedic style, which puts a new spin on older movie formulas, and their feelings about film making in general should get at the more important factors of auteurship. Perhaps most important is discerning whether or not the Coens present these factors consistently throughout their oeuvre, and whether or not a congruent and reoccurring style worthy of praise presents itself.