words by Janka Pozsonyi
This year, the director of the Cannes festival decided to double the seats of the Jury for the first time in history, to let the incredible Joel and Ethan Coen be in complete control and work their magic down here at the south coast of France. If there’s anyone at this festival who needs an introduction to the work of this marvellous brotherhood, they’re probably on the wrong track. The great minds behind the Dude, Anton Chigurh and Margie Gunderson make sure to remind us in each and every film of theirs, how much we truly love this great art form. So, we thought about sharing here our dearest subject, which is of course the art of short films. Working as a pair has really worked for the Coens, so here’s two short pieces they made in the past.
Steve Buscemi learns some worthwhile lessons about love and life in the mysterious subway of Paris, in the brothers’ short film Tuileries. The short was made as a part of the omnibus Paris, je t’aime in 2006, where directors such as Olivier Assayas, Alfonsó Cuarón, Gus Van Sant and a lot of other masterminds each directed a short sketch, in different districts of Paris. The Coens went to the city of love and came back with what they are best at; their inevitable black humour. Their main hero is a lonesome tourist, seeking for a passionate smile like Mona Lisa’s, but only bumps into an extremely passionate but utterly crazy Parisian couple, who teach him a valuable lesson. And by the end Mona Lisa’s smile is changing its original purpose too.
For the celebration of the 60th Cannes Film Festival, 33 directors were asked to create a short film about their biggest passion in life: the art of cinema. 33 incredible names were picked for this fine assignment – besides the Coens, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Alejandro González Iñárritu, David Lynch and many other impressive minds took part in this project, which soon became an omnibus again, called To Each His Own Cinema (Chacun con cinéma). The brothers dedicated this short sketch to their love to World Cinema, and decided to show it through the eyes of Josh Brolin, and the great character he introduced in No Country For Old Men. This (gunless) Llewelyn is really interested to see a really deep European film at the cinema, and the generous ticket salesman is glad to help him decide. He is balancing between two artistic pieces: Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game and Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Climates. A witty little short film, with – as the protagonist concludes – “a hell of a lot of truth in it”.