O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Cinema Classics Seminar: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

American Odysseys
Thursday, August 23, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Instructor: Paul Wright, Ph.D., Department of English, Cabrini University
Location: Multimedia Room
Cost: $25 for members, $30 for non-members
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The Coen Brothers have for decades now been impish yet masterful improvisers who thrive on cross-pollinating film genres and narrative inspirations, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) is one of their crowning achievements. While the plot centers on Ulysses Everett McGill (a Clark Gable-esque George Clooney) escaping from a Depression-era Mississippi chain gang to reunite with his estranged wife (Holly Hunter) and children, the film also frames itself as a re-telling of Homer’s Odyssey that is more of a postmodern riff than strict adaptation. For every detour that Clooney’s Ulysses takes on his way back to Hunter’s Penelope stand-in, he confronts and navigates the American South’s own tortured history and cultural tapestry—which proves as rich as anything in the Greek classics.

This is nowhere more evident than in the Grammy-winning soundtrack of outstanding period music that is as much a character as any in the film. With glorious cinematography by Oscar-winner and frequent Coen collaborator Roger Deakins, the film manages to look, sound, and feel at once like the product of an older time and place, and also timeless in its capacity for mythmaking. As Ulysses reflects about the changing South, the promise and perils of “a brave new world where they run everybody a wire and hook us all up to a grid” are urgent, contemporary concerns that transcend the film’s period setting—and inscribe O Brother in our own anxious moment.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. Students meet in the 2nd floor Multimedia room for an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. The film itself is shown in one of our theaters. Your ticket for the screening, as well as popcorn and a drink, are included with your registration.
Sessions · Click to add to calendar
  • Thursday, August 23
    6:30pm 2018-08-23 18:30:00 2018-08-23 21:30:00 America/New_York Cinema Classics Seminar: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA