The Coen Brothers never make the same film twice. On the heels of their Western success True Grit, the brothers are turning their attention to the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 1960’s. The new project is loosely based on the life of New York City icon Dave van Ronk, who died in 2002. Van Ronk was famed for his connections to the folk music scene, fostering musicians like Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan to success, and for his left-wing politics- he was arrested during the famous Stonewall riots, a pivotal event in the gay rights movement. Van Ronk’s posthumous memior, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, will be a source for the film.
Unsurprisingly, given the subject matter, the Coens confirmed that the film will contain a number of musical performances. According to Joel Coen, most of the music in the film will be “pretty muchall performed live, single instrument.” This film brings to mind O Brother, Where Art Thou, the Coen’s other music-heavy film that made great use of its folk and bluegrass soundtrack. The Coens said that their new film wouldn’t have O Brother’s stylized and desaturated feel, and would rather mimic Margot at the Wedding and “offer natural dialogue and a feeling of being dropped into the middle of a world.”
As a native New Yorker, this project sounds incredible. The NYC music scene has a long and impressive history, and I’m thrilled to see filmmakers like the Coens taking a small bite out of it. Plus, with the New York senate’s recent approval of same-sex marriage, a film exploring the origins of the gay rights movement couldn’t be more timely. The only downside is that if it does well, Greenwich Village will get even more packed with tourists than usual.
Source: LA Times