The cool of the CoensTo their rich haul of Oscars, I would have liked to add one more to the Coen Brothers' tally: for "Best Insouciance". On each occasion that their names was called up, Joel and Ethan Coen walked up unhurriedly to the stage. Either they were giving a Coen-worthy performance themselves, or it actually didn't matter all that much. A festival bonus, not a career definition. Joel spoke about being grateful that they were allowed to play in the sandbox, while Ethan didn't bother with such verbosity. "Thank you" was followed "I've got nothing more to add to what I said earlier". Where people weep and whoop, the Coens simply won. In contrast, the other Oscar winner in the family, Frances Mcdormand, and other relatives seemed to compensate with their excitedness. Though Ethan in particular seemed to wonder what they were fussing about.
I happened to see "No Country for Old Men" and came away feeling like the glass of water in the anecdote. I wasn't sure if I liked it or whether I hated it. (Saket is much less ambivalent here.) On the plus side, the intensity of certain scenes, the lack of a background score that left each coming moment equipped with the power to suddenly bite, some of the performances (Javier Bardem's sociopathic Chighurh surely gatecrashes - by blowing out the doorknob, no doubt - into cinema's Hall of Infamy), some of the unexpected creative choices (not showing a certain character's end; some of the motel action), to name a few. While on the other hand, some almost incomprehensible Texan accents, the lack of providing character graphs for some of the people, the 'this is great viewing, but what are they trying to say here?' feeling of not knowing where the light switch was.
One could argue that great art demands that the viewer shed his passivity to actively engage her own self in the artistic product. On the other hand, shouldn't great art also be accessible to most? I am not sure. I will say (honestly) that I'm still waiting to figure out, interesting film though it was, exactly why "No Country for Old Men" was the unanimous darling of cineastes this year, and why not some of the other films? What set it apart from the rest?