The Coen Brothers, Second Edition

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Brought completely up to date, this insightful biography remains "a must for any self-respecting Coen fan" (Screentrade).

This fully updated edition of the first biography of the Coen Brothers includes their complete work so far, from Blood Simple to Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), with a reassessment of their remarkable career as a whole. Joel and Ethan Coen have pulled off the ultimate balancing act. Despite having their movies financed and distributed by major studios, they have managed to remain true independents, rejecting commercial clichés and never giving up on their own fiercely idiosyncratic vision. While doing so, they have established themselves among the world's leading filmmakers.

From their startling debut, Blood Simple (1984), all of their movies reveal a distinctive stamp: a flamboyant visual style, richly conceived characters, crisp dialogue, and brilliant casting. They have revitalized old Hollywood genres such as noir, screwball, and the western, giving them a contemporary sensibility. In this biography, Ronald Bergan traces the brothers' Jewish roots, their beginnings as film geeks in suburban Minneapolis, their battle to get their first feature made and released, through their early features and the movies of their maturity. He gives blow-by-blow accounts of the making of each movie. New chapters cover all those released since O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), with which the first edition of this book ended.
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About the author

Ronald Bergan, film historian, critics, and lecturer, is a regular contributor to the Guardian. The author of numerous film biographies, including Jean Renoir, Sergei Eisenstein, and Katharine Hepburn, all published by Arcade, he held the chair in film at Florida International University in Miami and lectured at the Sorbonne, the British Institute in Paris, and the University of Lille. He now lives in Prague, where he teaches at the famed FAMU film school.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jan 5, 2016
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Pages
360
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ISBN
9781628726244
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Artists, Architects, Photographers
Performing Arts / Film / Direction & Production
Performing Arts / Individual Director
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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An entertaining and inspirational memoir by one of the most prominent practitioners and evangelists of independent filmmaking, and the acclaimed writer, director, and actor (Saving Private Ryan, Friends with Kids, Entourage) whose first film—The Brothers McMullen—has become an indie classic.

At the age of twenty-five, Ed Burns directed and produced his first film on a tiny $25,000 budget. The Brothers McMullen went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995, and established the working-class Irish American filmmaker as a talent to watch. In the twenty years since, Burns has made ten more films (She’s the One, Sidewalks of New York, and The Fitzgerald Family Christmas), while also acting in big budget Hollywood movies (Saving Private Ryan), hit television shows (Entourage and Mob City), and pioneering a new distribution network for indie filmmakers online and with TV’s On Demand service (“why open a film in twenty art houses when you can open in twenty million homes?”).

Inspired by Burns’s uncompromising success both behind and in front of the camera, students and aspiring filmmakers are always asking Burns for advice. In Independent Ed, Burns shares the story of his two remarkable decades in a fickle business where heat and box office receipts are often all that matter. He recounts stories of the lengths he has gone to to secure financing for his films, starting with The Brothers McMullen (he told his father: “Shooting was the twelve best days of my life”). How he found stars on their way up—including Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz—to work in his films, and how he’s adhered religiously to the dictum of writing what you know, working as if he was just starting out, and always “looking for the next twelve best days of my life.”

Chronicling the struggles and the long hours as well as the heady moments when months of planning and writing come to fruition, Independent Ed is a must-read for movie fans, film students, and everyone who loves a gripping tale about what it takes to forge your own path in work and life.
This is a moving, star-filled account of one of Hollywood’s true golden ages as told by a man in the middle of it all. Walter Mirisch’s company has produced some of the most entertaining and enduring classics in film history, including West Side Story, Some Like It Hot, In the Heat of the Night, and The Magnificent Seven. His work has led to 87 Academy Award nominations and 28 Oscars. Richly illustrated with rare photographs from his personal collection, I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History reveals Mirisch’s own experience of Hollywood and tells the stories of the stars—emerging and established—who appeared in his films, including Natalie Wood, John Wayne, Peter Sellers, Sidney Poitier, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, and many others.
With hard-won insight and gentle humor, Mirisch recounts how he witnessed the end of the studio system, the development of independent production, and the rise and fall of some of Hollywood’s most gifted (and notorious) cultural icons. A producer with a passion for creative excellence, he offers insights into his innovative filmmaking process, revealing a rare ingenuity for placating the demands of auteur directors, weak-kneed studio executives, and troubled screen sirens.
From his early start as a movie theater usher to the presentation of such masterpieces as The Apartment, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Great Escape, Mirisch tells the inspiring life story of his climb to the highest echelon of the American film industry. This book assures Mirisch’s legacy—as Elmore Leonard puts it—as “one of the good guys.”

Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association
In 2008 No Country for Old Men won the Academy Award for Best Picture, adding to the reputation of filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, who were already known for pushing the boundaries of genre. They had already made films that redefined the gangster movie, the screwball comedy, the fable, and the film noir, among others. No Country is just one of many Coen brothers films to center on the struggles of complex characters to understand themselves and their places in the strange worlds they inhabit. To borrow a phrase from Barton Fink, all Coen films explore "the life of the mind" and show that the human condition can often be simultaneously comic and tragic, profound and absurd. In The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers, editor Mark T. Conard and other noted scholars explore the challenging moral and philosophical terrain of the Coen repertoire. Several authors connect the Coens' most widely known plots and characters to the shadowy, violent, and morally ambiguous world of classic film noir and its modern counterpart, neo-noir. As these essays reveal, Coen films often share noir's essential philosophical assumptions: power corrupts, evil is real, and human control of fate is an illusion. In Fargo, not even Minnesota's blankets of snow can hide Jerry Lundegaard's crimes or brighten his long, dark night of the soul. Coen films that stylistically depart from film noir still bear the influence of the genre's prevailing philosophical systems. The tale of love, marriage, betrayal, and divorce in Intolerable Cruelty transcends the plight of the characters to illuminate competing theories of justice. Even in lighter fare, such as Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski, the comedy emerges from characters' journeys to the brink of an amoral abyss. However, the Coens often knowingly and gleefully subvert conventions and occasionally offer symbolic rebirths and other hopeful outcomes. At the end of The Big Lebowski, the Dude abides, his laziness has become a virtue, and the human comedy is perpetuating itself with the promised arrival of a newborn Lebowski. The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers sheds new light on these cinematic visionaries and their films' stirring philosophical insights. From Blood Simple to No Country for Old Men, the Coens' films feature characters who hunger for meaning in shared human experience -- they are looking for answers. A select few of their protagonists find affirmation and redemption, but for many others, the quest for answers leads, at best, only to more questions.
“A warm and intelligent biography . . . that successfully and lovingly evokes the world of one of the cinema’s true giants” (Kirkus Reviews).
 
Hailed by Orson Welles as “the greatest of all directors,” Jean Renoir had a career that spanned five decades, and more than forty films—from silent melodrama to farce; film noir to musical comedy; and his scathing satires and tragedies informed by the Front Populaire. He has influenced generations of international filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Satyajit Ray, Luchino Visconti, and Mike Leigh. He’s been praised by André Bazin and François Truffaut as the patron saint of the French New Wave. Now, the genius behind such masterpieces as The Grand Illusion, The Rules of the Game, and The River is the subject of “the ideal Renoir biography—easy, graceful and unpretentious, as it . . . tell[s] us about Renoir’s long, rich life and career” (The Los Angeles Times).
 
In this authoritative portrait written with the full cooperation of Renoir’s son, Bergan draws from exclusive interviews and the director’s personal archives to illuminate his remarkable life and invaluable contribution to cinema. From his childhood as the son of great Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir to his escape from Nazi-occupied France to a flourishing career in the French film industry and to his turbulent and trying years in Hollywood, Bergan delivers an “impressive critical biography . . . Revealing . . . compassionate [and] poetic” (Publishers Weekly).
From a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios—the Academy Award–winning studio behind Coco, Inside Out, and Toy Story—comes an incisive book about creativity in business and leadership for readers of Daniel Pink, Tom Peters, and Chip and Dan Heath.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Huffington Post • Financial Times • Success • Inc. • Library Journal

Creativity, Inc. is a manual for anyone who strives for originality and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about creativity—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.”

For nearly twenty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, WALL-E, and Inside Out, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner thirty Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Here, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so widely admired—and so profitable.

As a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to make the first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged a partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his co-founding Pixar in 1986. Nine years later, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever. The essential ingredient in that movie’s success—and in the thirteen movies that followed—was the unique environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, based on leadership and management philosophies that protect the creative process and defy convention, such as:

• Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.
• If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
• It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them.
• The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
• A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.
This enhanced eBook transforms The Making of Star Wars into an immersive multimedia experience worthy of the original film. It features exclusive content pulled from the Lucasfilm archives by author J. W. Rinzler:
 
• 26 minutes of rare behind-the-scenes video*
• 29 minutes of rare audio interviews with the cast and crew
• New bonus photos and artwork not found in the print edition
 
After the 1973 success of American Graffiti, filmmaker George Lucas made the fateful decision to pursue a longtime dream project: a space fantasy movie unlike any ever produced. Lucas envisioned a swashbuckling SF saga inspired by the Flash Gordon serials, classic American westerns, the epic cinema of Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa, and mythological heroes. Its original title: The Star Wars. The rest is history, and how it was made is a story as entertaining and exciting as the movie that has enthralled millions for more than thirty years—a story that has never been told as it was meant to be. Until now.
 
Using his unprecedented access to the Lucasfilm Archives and its trove of “lost” interviews, photos, production notes, factoids, and anecdotes, Star Wars scholar J. W. Rinzler hurtles readers back in time for a one-of-a-kind behind-the-scenes look at the nearly decade-long quest of George Lucas and his key collaborators to make the “little” movie that became a phenomenon. It’s all here:
 
• the evolution of the now-classic story and characters—including “Annikin Starkiller” and “a huge green-skinned monster with no nose and large gills” named Han Solo
• excerpts from George Lucas’s numerous, ever-morphing script drafts
• the birth of Industrial Light & Magic, the special-effects company that revolutionized Hollywood filmmaking
• the studio-hopping and budget battles that nearly scuttled the entire project
• the director’s early casting saga, which might have led to a film spoken mostly in Japanese—including the intensive auditions that won the cast members their roles and made them legends
• the grueling, nearly catastrophic location shoot in Tunisia and the subsequent breakneck dash at Elstree Studios in London
• the who’s who of young film rebels who pitched in to help—including Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and Brian DePalma
 
But perhaps most exciting, and rarest of all, are the interviews conducted before and during production and immediately after the release of Star Wars—in which George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Sir Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, composer John Williams, effects masters Dennis Muren, Richard Edlund, and John Dykstra, Phil Tippett, Rick Baker, legendary production designer John Barry, and a host of others share their fascinating tales from the trenches and candid opinions of the film that would ultimately change their lives.
 
No matter how you view the spectrum of this phenomenon, The Making of Star Wars stands as a crucial document—rich in fascination and revelation—of a genuine cinematic and cultural touchstone.

*Video may not play on all readers. Please check your user manual for details.
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