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'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis

Related thread:
Song from Llewin Davis - discussion? (12)


Ernest 04 Dec 13 - 12:25 PM
Ernest 05 Dec 13 - 01:32 PM
voyager 19 Dec 13 - 03:01 PM
Mark Ross 19 Dec 13 - 04:12 PM
ChanteyLass 20 Dec 13 - 08:35 PM
Mark Ross 21 Dec 13 - 01:19 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 21 Dec 13 - 04:58 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 21 Dec 13 - 05:01 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 21 Dec 13 - 05:15 AM
Desert Dancer 21 Dec 13 - 10:18 AM
Ernest 21 Dec 13 - 11:00 AM
ChanteyLass 22 Dec 13 - 08:18 PM
Mark Ross 23 Dec 13 - 01:28 PM
10r 23 Dec 13 - 05:32 PM
Mark Ross 23 Dec 13 - 06:38 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Dec 13 - 07:53 PM
Mark Ross 24 Dec 13 - 12:05 AM
Mark Ross 24 Dec 13 - 12:24 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 06 Jan 14 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,ollaimh 07 Jan 14 - 12:49 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 07 Jan 14 - 05:40 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 07 Jan 14 - 05:50 AM
Seamus Kennedy 07 Jan 14 - 06:28 PM
Stringsinger 08 Jan 14 - 11:59 AM
PHJim 08 Jan 14 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Jaan 08 Jan 14 - 09:22 PM
Mark Clark 09 Jan 14 - 07:40 PM
Bat Goddess 13 Jan 14 - 06:37 PM
Dorothy Parshall 13 Jan 14 - 08:42 PM
Mark Ross 13 Jan 14 - 10:00 PM
Bat Goddess 14 Jan 14 - 10:07 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jan 14 - 12:16 AM
Joe Offer 17 Jan 14 - 01:17 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jan 14 - 02:11 AM
dick greenhaus 17 Jan 14 - 08:59 AM
Edthefolkie 17 Jan 14 - 02:55 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Jan 14 - 09:27 PM
Edthefolkie 18 Jan 14 - 12:09 PM
PHJim 18 Jan 14 - 12:42 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 18 Jan 14 - 03:13 PM
JJ 20 Jan 14 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Bat Goddess 20 Jan 14 - 08:25 AM
Stringsinger 20 Jan 14 - 01:41 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Jan 14 - 05:05 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jan 14 - 11:21 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 21 Jan 14 - 07:29 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 21 Jan 14 - 07:35 AM
JJ 22 Jan 14 - 10:15 AM
Will Fly 22 Jan 14 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 25 Jan 14 - 02:51 AM
JJ 25 Jan 14 - 08:11 AM
GUEST,Rev Bayes 25 Jan 14 - 08:33 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Jan 14 - 05:19 PM
Mark Ross 25 Jan 14 - 07:17 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Jan 14 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 25 Jan 14 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates. 26 Jan 14 - 06:44 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Jan 14 - 08:35 AM
cooperman 27 Jan 14 - 03:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Jan 14 - 06:30 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Jan 14 - 06:35 AM
cooperman 27 Jan 14 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Phil at work 27 Jan 14 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,matt milton 27 Jan 14 - 08:58 AM
Mark Ross 27 Jan 14 - 12:47 PM
Rusty Dobro 27 Jan 14 - 04:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 27 Jan 14 - 08:46 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 28 Jan 14 - 12:14 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jan 14 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Rev Bayes 28 Jan 14 - 03:41 PM
JJ 29 Jan 14 - 09:25 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jan 14 - 10:07 AM
Desert Dancer 29 Jan 14 - 02:36 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jan 14 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,matt milton 29 Jan 14 - 05:56 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Jan 14 - 06:53 AM
Desert Dancer 30 Jan 14 - 04:38 PM
nickp 01 Feb 14 - 08:35 AM
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Subject: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Ernest
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 12:25 PM

I know there have been a couple of earlier threads about this movie, but all of them started and ended before it came to the cinemas - so I think it is time for a new one.

Having no personal knowledge of the Greenwich village folk scene in the early sixties I liked the movie: nice laid back music, good dialogues, good acting, and a good story as well. Strange but realistic that the main character is largely unable to show feelings/communicate without insulting others outside of his music (for instance in the scene where he literally explodes when Mrs. Gofein joins in instead of simply admitting that the suicide of his partner Mikey still hurts to much*), can`t deceide to visit his ex-girlfriend/child when he drives by their hometown on the way back from Chicago, often generally behaving like ab asshole with other musicians) or picking the wrong songs to the occasion ("Death of Queen Jane would have been more appropriate with the Gofein`s guest who was a pianist specializing in old music than with a producer/club owner) Also good choice of actors/faces (the Gofein`s guests appeared quite freakish to me...).

Apart from your impressions of the music & acting I´d be intetested in any reminiscences about the folk scene at that time and place - there shold be some catters who had been there....

Best wishes
Ernest


*= I have experienced similar things with musicians


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Ernest
Date: 05 Dec 13 - 01:32 PM

refresh - are you still afraid the guy with the suit in the back lane will beat you up?


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: voyager
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 03:01 PM

We saw a screening of the film here in Denver (for free!). Without getting sucked into all the media, hype, I'd say I enjoyed the film most for the songs (especially Dink's Song, Green Rocky Road and Death of Queen Jane) -

Llewyn Davis Soundtrack

voyager


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Mark Ross
Date: 19 Dec 13 - 04:12 PM

From my old friend and former manager Terri Thal, who was DVR's 1st wife
This her view of the new Coen Brothers' movie



Dave Van Ronk's Ex-Wife Takes Us Inside Inside Llewyn Davis

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 08:35 PM

This is from the Boston Globe about one of the other characters in the film. http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2013/12/19/new-bedford-folk-hero-paul-clayton-colors-inside-llewyn-davis/ngl8FfziaiKeahUS1


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Mark Ross
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 01:19 AM

ChanteyLass, the link is broken.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 04:58 AM

Try just copy-pasting this (the above URL seems to be incomplete, but I can't make the Mudcat clickifier work either, even with the full one):

http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2013/12/19/new-bedford-folk-hero-paul-clayton-colors-inside-llewyn-davis/ngl8FfziaiKeahUS1mHDoM/story.html


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 05:01 AM

Wow, that is one interesting story (finally managed to actually read it) - thanks Chanteylass! I'd never even heard of Paul Clayton. Going to seek him out now -


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 05:15 AM

Also see:

http://compvid101.blogspot.ie/2011/06/paul-clayton-john-steinbeck-open-road.html

and this Mudcat thread (with other related blue links at the top):

Wanted: Memories of Paul Clayton

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=79933


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 10:18 AM

New Bedford singer inspires 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

~ Becky in Tucson (visiting)


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Ernest
Date: 21 Dec 13 - 11:00 AM

Thanks for all the Input so far!

Especially for the link to the interview with Dave van Ronks ex-wife. Lots of interesting details even if I disagree a litte: the film might be inspired by Dave van Ronk & others, but it is not about actual persons...


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 22 Dec 13 - 08:18 PM

I'm glad you got to the Boston Globe article in spite of the broken link! Thank you for that, Bonnie and Desert Dancer, and thanks for the other links, too, Bonnie.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Mark Ross
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 01:28 PM

"Folk is a permanent minority form. Those who come seeking fame and fortune should be driven from its lists with whips and scorpions." Dave Van Ronk


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: 10r
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 05:32 PM

I didn't get to NYC/Greenwich Village until the 70s, but I did
experience the early folk scene in Chicago (Earl of Old Town,
the Old Town School of Folk Music, etc.)For the most part it was a friendly group. There were exceptions. Arlo Guthrie tells the story of how he met Steve Goodman and heard the song City of New Orleans, basically he admits to being an $#$%*&6. During my time in NYC I found the folk scene very friendly and welcoming. It was not unusual for people you know to invite you up to do a song with them, etc.
The mention of the Gaslight, Kettle of Fish and other clubs bring back very pleasant memories of the times I spent in those places.

I found the documentary about making Llewyn Davis pretty interesting as well as the concert film.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Mark Ross
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 06:38 PM

New City woman offers a real look inside the world of Coen brothers' 'Llewyn Da


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 07:53 PM

Dakota Dave Hull, a Twin Cities musician who actually knew Dave Van Ronk, wrote his own comments about the movie in the St Paul Pioneer Press.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Mark Ross
Date: 24 Dec 13 - 12:05 AM

The Best film on that era is this one by Alan Lomax;

Balllad, Blues, and Bluegrass

New Lost City Ramblers, Ernie Marrs, Roscoe Holcomb with John Cohen,
Clarence Ashley, Doc Watson, Clint Howard, and Fred Price, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Jean Ritchie, Peter LaFarge, Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon, all at a party at Lomax's apartment in 1961.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Mark Ross
Date: 24 Dec 13 - 12:24 PM

"Folk is a permanent minority form. Those who come seeking fame and fortune should be driven from its lists with whips and scorpions." Dave Van Ronk

That says it all.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 06 Jan 14 - 05:19 PM

Here's another good article about Paul Clayton to add to the rest. And it opens with a beautiful quote by Bob Dylan which I'd never seen before, an iconic statement which transcends its subject:

[Folk music] goes deeper than just myself singing it, it goes into legends and bibles, it goes into curses and myths, it goes into plagues, it goes into all kinds of weird things that I don't even know about, can't pretend to know about.

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20140105%2FNEWS%2F40


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 07 Jan 14 - 12:49 AM

I thought paul clayton wrote "gotta travel on", but the article says he copywrit a known folk song. so who did write it?


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 07 Jan 14 - 05:40 AM

Article says

> And he once copyrighted a ballad, "Gotta Travel On," that became a million seller for the country singer Billy Grammer.

The blog I linked to above (101.blogspot…) tells us this:

Chief among these is his "I Feel Like I Gotta Travel On," about the origins of which Clayton was always mysterious. The likeliest reason is that he had heard the basic words of the chorus in a traditional song and had incorporated them into an old W.C. Handy melody, probably "Harlem Blues." The other verses were likewise adopted from other earlier songs, making Clayton's piece one that was rather more assembled from earlier sources than actually composed.

and in one of the comments someone writes:

I was curious whether you'd heard Neil Young's cover of Gotta Travel On (featured on Americana [2012] and presented as just Travel On and credited to Paul Clayton/Larry Ehrlich/David Lazar/Tom Six).


You might look through that other Mudcat thread I cited ("Wanted: Memories of Paul Clayton") to see if anything's there - it also has some other links at the top of the page.

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=79933


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 07 Jan 14 - 05:50 AM

Blogger above talks about "an old W C Handy melody" - but WCH didn't die until 1958. If there was that much resemblance between one of his tunes and Gotta Travel On, a national hit, surely the Handy estate would have sued, or at least complained? Plenty of money to be made from a commercial success like that, and it's hard to imagine they would have remained unaware of it.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 07 Jan 14 - 06:28 PM

The fact that they had him using a Shubb capo which weren't invented yet showed a lack of attention to detail.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Jan 14 - 11:59 AM

There was a kernel of truth about some of the folkies that hung out in Washington Square on Sunday afternoons in 1953-through early Sixties but certainly not the majority of them
in Llewyn Davis. I think that Al Grossman wasn't unfairly represented. I worked at the Gate of Horn for about a year as a house musician accompanying acts that came through. With Al, as with Bob Grossman in the movie, it was about "seeing money in it". The damage he did to Odetta by unceremoniously dropping her from his roster to go with Dylan is unforgivable. The part I disliked mostly about the movie is the leaving of the cat with the Goodman character. It was heartbreaking. The cavalier handling of the "abortion" stuff was pretty bad too. The attitude by some of the folkies was not unlike the Davis character. These characters had the New York disease of having to prove something rather than singing and playing out of joy and love. Again, this was certainly not the case of the majority of them that I knew.

I also slept on couches and floors. Al Meyers, a lovely guy, opened his apartment to many of us on Third and MacDougal. The Village in those days (1950's throughout early 60's) was a friendly, non-threatening place to live. You could walk through the area near the Waverly Theater without worrying about being mugged or attacked. "Blackies" was the best pizza place in the city at that time.


The Coen brothers were apparently trying to make a point out of the unreal attitudes of folkies in New York at that time. Dave Van Ronk in my opinion was nothing like Llewyn Davis, nor was Paul Clayton. Dave was affable, friendly, encouraging and supportive, a genuinely nice person and we had some good laughs together. I didn't know Paul very well but he was not a cad like Davis. I think of Llewyn Davis as an extension of "The Mighty Wind" which was funny if overblown.

Again, my views are based on the fact that I was there and had left shortly before the singer songwriter happening through "Fast Folk", "Caravan" and Sis Cunningham's publication, "Broadside printed Paxton, Dylan and other's creations.

Izzy Young of the Folklore Center would never have tolerated Llewyn Davis in his store and told many to get out of his store if they supported the Vietnam War. Always admired Izzy for that.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: PHJim
Date: 08 Jan 14 - 02:45 PM

Has anyone posted Christine Lavin's opinion of the film yet?

Christine Lavin on Inside LD

Christine's bias is that she was a friend and protégé of Dave Van Ronk.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,Jaan
Date: 08 Jan 14 - 09:22 PM

Ollaimh, Paul Clayton's "Gotta Travel On" appears to be largely taken from "High Sheriff and Police" recorded by Ollis Martin in in 1927. You can hear it at http://youtu.be/YUXhxh7Agv0


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Jan 14 - 07:40 PM

As has been mentioned, Paul Clayton was a prolific recording artist. He even did at least one album on the Tradition label with Jean Ritchie. The Tradition label was, I think, a project of Tom Clancy and his brothers. It was Paul Clayton, together with Diane Hamilton and Liam Clancy who, in 1956, made the field recordings which became Tradition's TLP 1007 LP, "The Instrumental Music of the Southern Appalachians." That was perhaps the seminal album that turned thousands of college students into fingerpicking guitar players. Tracks include "One Dime Blues," "Railroad Bill," "John Henry," and "Bully of the Town" played by Mrs. Etta Baker. Soon versions of those numbers would be heard on every college campus in the US and probably beyond.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 06:37 PM

Went to see the film yesterday with friends (folkies -- one USian, his wife a Scot) and found it was a very INTERESTING film...

Cinematography was excellent, but I'm still trying to figure out, though, the intended meaning of that loop -- Llewyn getting beaten up at the beginning of the film and then the reprise (but with a different sound track) at the end. Dylan was the soundtrack to his downfall as a musician, perhaps?

As a history of the time and place -- lousy. So much so that figuring out who characters were "supposed to be" is more or less meaningless. It's fiction set in a known location and time.

I found Llewyn to be quite unlikeable...and, until that last song he performed, he seemed to have no real interest or passion for the music. (But he wasn't cold and calculating either. In fact, he seemed to lack business sense.) One wondered what he was actually doing there; what was he looking for? Maybe a story that made sense could have been made if the Coens had focused on how he was feeling after his musical partner suicided off the bridge.

Got this from a quotes site: < Llewyn Davis: "What, quit? Just exist?"
Joy tries to talk some sense into Llewyn, to urge him to seek out a real job and try to give up his music career. Llewyn sees it differently. Without music, he simply exists rather than contributes.">>

No. He doesn't ACT as if making music means anything to him, that it is better than any other "job", or that without performing he would be simply existing.

There were some very funny moments and great lines -- "Where's his scrotum?!?" I think I'm going to get some mileage out of that line. (Hmmm...it could probably be asked of the film itself...)

I'm not sure what the Coen Brothers wanted the film to be... It was a dark existential story of some sort... But it COULD have been a comedy with a few minor changes. Parts of it were reminiscent of the Jim Jarmusch film "Stranger Than Paradise" in that regard.

Some anachronisms and some things gotten entirely WRONG, such as the scene with the abortion doctor. Nope. Wouldn't have happened like that. What part of "illegal" don't the film makers understand? And the cops in the Flatland (Indiana? Sure looked like northern Indiana... "Welcome to Indiana. Still Flat" or "Welcome to Indiana - "Flatter Than Ohio") would NOT have taken the driver and left the occupants and the car there by the side of the road. AND, the word "fuck" was not (in my experience, at least) used much at all by anyone, even musicians, in the early '60s...or in the late '60s and early '70s. At least not in all the nuances of meaning as used in the film. For the sex act alone, perhaps. But that's it. Other words were used much more -- god damn, shit, son of a bitch, bastard... Back in the early '70s Bob Canney from Alfred, Maine was arrested while speaking at an anti-war rally in Florida for saying "God damn war." He was still fighting it, but had been released from jail, when I lived in the next town a few years later.

I'm glad I saw "Inside Llewyn Davis". And, if it comes closer (it was Hookset where we saw it; Cinemagic, the most comfortable theater I've ever been in), I'll probably see it again with Jeri.

Linn


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 08:42 PM

It sounds to me as though Linn is saying, this is an interesting film with many errors of time and place and sub-culture but good cinematography. In other words, if you were there or have good friends who were there, do not expect it to be about there. Just enjoy an interesting film about a troubled young would-be musician, with some good music and a lot of "those words".   

And if she is going again, it must be worth seeing.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Mark Ross
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 10:00 PM

I saw the movie this weekend. Having spent a number of years living in and around the Village starting in 1967 (though I did start going down there in '63), I did have to see it. I mean Elijah Wald who co-wrote the book with Dave Van Ronk is an old friend, for that matter I was friends with Dave who was my first influence as a guitar player (I can still play half the songs from the FOLKSINGER LP). It's a good movie, beautifully photographed, well acted, Oscar Isaac's guitar playing was more than acceptable (which is more than you can say for the rest of the actors who appear on screen playing instruments), but it's not a film that I would have to see again. The only really likeable character in the film really is the cat.

Like I said I was in the Village for the tail end of the Great Folk Music Scare of the '60's and I remember it very fondly (and well, despite my excessive intake of various nostrums). I would love to be back there, especially if I could go back with the knowledge and tools I have at my command these days. But I wouldn't want to go back to the Village as it's prese4nted in "Inside LLewyn Davis". And don't get me started on some of the anachronisms I saw in the film. Well, why not? The capo that Davis using on his guitar in when he's playing Green, Green Rocky Road is a Shubb, which wasn't invented until 1980. So what? you ask. Well, when Davis is playing Hang Me, Oh Hang Me at the Gaslight he is using a period correct Hamilton clamp capo. A slight lack of attention to detail I'd say. But mainly, except for the scenes onstage, or auditioning, or in the recording studio nobody seems to be playing music for fun. I mean, I was a professional houseguest a good bit of the time there, and noone is walking around with their guitar, much less picking it up at every opportunity. The best thing that you can say about this film is that perhaps it will do the same thing as the first Folk Scare 50 years ago, and inspire somebody to dig deeper into where the music came from, and maybe some kid will start to wonder who DVR was. If that happens I will be satisfied that this film has served some useful purpose. And it's nice that The Mayor of MacDougal Street, Dave's memoir is being reprinted. As Terri Thal, Dave's 1st wife said, "Dave is getting more written about him now than he ever got in his lifetime."


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Llewyn Davis
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 10:07 AM

I've got a friend who is a fact checker for a Hollywood studio. He says the only facts the suits care about are ones that get them in trouble with the legal department, that could get them sued. Nothing else matters.

Things like that capo are doubly annoying because they got it RIGHT in one scene.

Just enjoy the cinematography and the story as a complete piece of fiction. I still think the Coen's were unsure what they really wanted to portray. Llewyn's malaise and confusion as to how he wants to spend the rest of his life could be explored as being a result of his musical partner's (and, I assume, friend) suicide. That would be a good story right there. And there's the whole comic side of the film that could have turned the film in a whole different direction.

And what DOES that loop of beginning and ending on Llewyn's (well-deserved) beating really mean?

Linn


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Subject: Inside Llewin Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 12:16 AM

I'm sure there must already be a thread by our stateside buddies - but a search didn't reveal it to me.

still whaddya make of that....?


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 01:17 AM

Hi, Al - yeah, it had a misleading title, but I changed it and combined the threads.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 02:11 AM

thanks Joe - much appreciated!

the film still isn't anywhere over here as far as I see. But I sent for the script and the album straightaway.
Dave Van Ronk's Bad Dream Blues and Green Green Rocky Road were my introduction to open tunings. His version of St Louis Tickle was my introduction to ragtime guitar. I never saw him live but he's there every day when I pick up my guitar.

You feel like one of these train spotter types who notice that Hercule Poirot is sitting on the wrong design of railway carriage - but the anachronisms are bloody irritating. Llewyn was supposed to sing Shoals of Herring when he was eight - although MacColl only wrote it a couple of years before for Singing the Fishing.

I suppose what the Coen brothers are saying is that this music is worthy of your attention, and that it came out of artistic intensity and effort. a bit like that kirk douglas film about van gogh. and intensity - the cinema is really too much of a cartoon medium to convey inclusive chubby characters like Van Ronk and MacColl - they have to be hollow cheekboned suffering geniuses.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Inside Llewyn Davis
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 08:59 AM

Of course, there was more than one folk scene in Greenwich Village in the 50's and the pre-commercial 60's


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 02:55 PM

Very interesting thread. I think I'll reserve judgment until I've seen the movie.

Thanks for the links Mark (Terri Thal, and the Ballads, Blues and Bluegrass DVD). My daughter kindly got me the "Mayor of MacDougal Street" when it came out and I loved it. I'm too young - just - to have made it over to Greenwich Village in 1961 but I wish I could have. I've ordered the DVD so let's hope it plays in the UK. Worth a punt anyway.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 09:27 PM

you can't help but think that the film gives an opportunity for those of us with some recollection of the cold war era to soberly reflect on our present situation.

Greenwich village's folk community may well have dispersed - but their songs echoed in corners of the world unimagined by their creators.

as a young teenager growing up in Lincolnshire, the airfields that we biked past had rockets and planes loaded with atom bombs - and where have all the flowers done, and blowing in the wind seemed almost written for us. similarly when the trouble kicked off in Northern Ireland - it was under the banner of civil rights - a phrase which had so many resonances of Martin Luther King and Pete Seeger singing If You Miss Me on the back of the Bus.

does it not stir similar sentiments elsewhere - what the music of that era meant to us.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 12:09 PM

Ian Jack of the Guardian spotted a howler in the film!

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/17/inside-llewyn-davis-flaws-film


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: PHJim
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 12:42 PM

I was glad to see that I am not the only one bothered by musical anachronisms in films.
When I mentioned that Johnny Cash wouldn't have been playing a Martin with a black pick-guard in the 1950s as in the movie Walk The Line or Woody Guthrie wouldn't have been playing a Mossman guitar as he did in Bound For Glory, my non-musical friends tell me I'm being petty, but these same friends would "have a cow" if someone was pictured driving an Edsel in a movie set in 1950.

I must mention to Linn, that a common expression among my friends in the sixties was, "Well, that really throws a fuck into our plans." I don't think the word's usage is as recent as you might think.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 03:13 PM

Interesting live interview with the Coen brothers on BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme, which is available worldwide:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03phd4r


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: JJ
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 08:15 AM

I cannot shake the feeling that the Coens don't really like folk music very much. There's something OFF about every performer other than Llewyn, even the "Clancy Brothers."

Is this because they consider Llewyn "authentic," (that eternal bugaboo of the folk scene) while the others are considered bland poseurs?

It's February, 1961. Later that year, Albert Grossman's trio of Peter, Paul and Mary will make its sweet, harmonic debut, and Llewyn will doubtless gag...


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,Bat Goddess
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 08:25 AM

PHJim, in the musical circles I traveled in (Milwaukee, mid to late '60s), it was not often used except for talking about sex. The expletive of choice (and descriptive) was "shit".

Linn


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 01:41 PM

I think what the Coen's pointed out is that there was a lot of pretense about being "authentic" in those days. The ones that cared most about that were not from rural places but from New York and Boston. What Llewyn Davis represented was the contradictory attempt at some folkies to become both "authentic" and "commercial" at the same time.
Woody was never commercial in his day and would not be known if it weren't for Alan Lomax and Pete Seeger. "This Land is Your Land" became well-known after Woody was in Greystone.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 05:05 PM

Woody's authenticity as as carefully (and more skillfully) worked out than were Dylan's and Elliot's.

Funny thing about authenticity----once you learn to fake that successfully, you've got it made.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 11:21 PM

I think the film (I have only read the script) says some important thought provoking things about our music.

It would be perhaps silly of me to comment further without having seen the movie. But from where I'm standing - the concept of a musician getting nowhere in a genre that at its deepest level is going nowhere seems brilliant.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 21 Jan 14 - 07:29 AM

Your comments are always of interest, Big Al - nothing silly about them! But I would put a different spin on the last one.

I think "going nowhere" is overly pessimistic. After all, this music been Going Nowhere for centuries, and still it survives. How many pop songs can say the same? That genre thrives commercially, but its individual flowers bloom and wither in a very short time, and are then gone forever. For "going nowhere" I would substitute:

… at its deepest level thrives underground, nourished from some hidden wellspring that never breaks the surface, but also never runs dry.

The artist being true to him/herself is an archetype that will never die. It's not about money - which is both why our music fails or struggles in the marketplace, and why it endures.


[Michael, what did you put in my morning coffee…?]


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 21 Jan 14 - 07:35 AM

Bob Dylan's comments on the subject are worth a replay:

[Folk music] goes deeper than just myself singing it, it goes into legends and bibles, it goes into curses and myths, it goes into plagues, it goes into all kinds of weird things that I don't even know about, can't pretend to know about.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: JJ
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 10:15 AM

Interesting how the Coens conflate Phil Ochs with Van Ronk in the form of Llewyn Davis. His friends are Jim and Jean (perhaps the only names in the film that go unchanged), and he has a sister who lives a long subway ride away in one of the outer boroughs of NYC.

Jim Glover was Phil's roommate at Ohio State, I believe.

Phil's sister was named Sunny. She lived in Far Rockaway (Brooklyn). Llewyn's is named Joy. I don't recognize her street from the movie, but someone will.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 10:42 AM

What inspires a film, and what shape that film eventually takes, can be two very different things. The original theme can be a basic platform on which to place and juxtapose ideas and arguments - but then those ideas and arguments take on a life of their own.

So it might be that, although DVRs memoirs inspired the original theme and structure of this film, the Coens superimposed their own questions, arguments and ideas on it. I haven't seen the film - I'm just talking about the role of cinema in an abstract way - and may or may not see it. (I generally don't find films about music very satisfying - "Spinal Tap" being the exception!)

Unless a film is billed as a representation of an actual person - Johnny Cash, General Patton, Glenn Miller, etc. - then relating it to an actuality that you think you remember can be difficult and unsatisfactory.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 02:51 AM

I saw the film yesterday. As an Englishman, whose only knowledge of the '60's New York folkscene was via a subscription to "Sing Out" magazine, it is hard for me to make a judgement as to the film's historical accuracy. What I can say is that I enjoyed seeing it, though I suspect that many will find it somewhat puzzling, being the story of somebody who just keeps on making the same old mistakes over and over again. I suppose that, being a Cohen Brothers film, things fell into place when we discovered that the other central character, the cat, was called Ulysses. In other words, James Joyce meets Groundhog Day. But, what a joy to hear the ballad "Queen Jane" sung with great integrity as an audition piece. Few others would have chosen it. And that, I suppose, is what makes the film, and its central character, stand out. Say what you like about the film, but you do have to admit that the Cohen Brothers really do know how to make a film.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: JJ
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 08:11 AM

I agree with your exegesis, Mike. Perhaps Llewyn is in purgatory. Perhaps he has been cursed by Roland Turner (John Goodman). But each time through, things get a little better for him. This time, for instance, he doesn't let the cat out! And he's able to sing "Dink's Song" at the Gaslight and truly bid farewell to Mike, his dead partner.

Maybe next time, he'll be able to take that exit to Akron and see his child.

Interesting that Roland Turner and his "valet," Johnny Five, are representatives of those things that influenced the folk revival but finally had to be put firmly at arms length: jazz and the Beats. Jazz just get you high on heroin, and the Beats just get you arrested for no good reason...


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 08:33 AM

I caught it last night. Inconsistent chronology, instruments, etc, don't bother me so much - they're inevitable and unimportant.

Llewyn's voice though, irritated the hell out of me. It's the voice of someone whose entire singing career has been up close and personal with a vocal mic. He's never, ever, ever had to belt it out to connect with the guy at the back of the room. When the Dylan tape plays at the end of the film, you can hear the roar of a voice that has to be heard.

And I can understand it to an extent. A coffeehouse voice from sixty years ago can't be sold on a commercial soundtrack. But a voice and performer with a Mumford aesthetic really grated on me.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 05:19 PM

Saw the film about an hour ago. what struck me was how downbeat it seemed.

I think what captivated us all at the time was the energy and stunning creativity of the American scene which really seemed to nullify MacColl's nay saying.

Think of Koerner, Ray and Glover ripping into the audiences of Newport. The Blues Project record, Pete Seeger at the Carnegie Hall album.   

That blur of energy made a quite unanswerable case. Possibly the most exciting place to be in the world - a bit like Ginsberg said about Liverpool. As Wordsworth said, to be young was very heaven....

So they make a film about a manic depressive. Can you imagine any jobbing musician turning down a gig in trio put together by Grossman in that period.

rather like Paul Simon's One Trick Pony -its a film about an unsuccessful musician, made by someone who has no idea what its like being an unsuccessful musician.

They know how to make a film - there were six people watching with me in the audience.........?


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Mark Ross
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 07:17 PM

Big Al, Van Ronk DID turn down that job in a trio that later was PP&M. Part of his problem with it was Al Grossman himself. If you read DVR's book he tells about the time that Grossman said to him that he would guarantee David a $100,000 a year, without changing his repertoire. All Van Ronk had to was to wear a viking helmet and change his name to "Olaf The Blues Singer". Of course Dave turned him down. He said that Grossman didn't know that his price was $120,000 a year.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 07:55 PM

I have read the book ( I also love Elijah Wald's book about Josh White) but had forgot that story. I'm not sure DVR was really what you classify as an unsuccessful folksinger - certainly not at that point. He had options, and he wasn't destitute.

Actually it was a bit weird hearing Dave when the final credits rolled. After the dulcet tones of Llewyn Davis. I don't think you would really confuse the two.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 09:47 PM

The most refreshing thing about this mostly downbeat film was the central character's refusal to compromise his musical integrity.

From the perspective of the folk revival in the UK and Ireland, there are is a heartening number of singers and musicians who have done likewise.

Even among fractious Mudcatters I'm sure there would be a consensus as to who deserves mention.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,Mike Yates.
Date: 26 Jan 14 - 06:44 AM

Big Al, the last time I saw a performance of "Mother Courage" there were only a handful of people in the audience. But it was still a great play with very good performers...


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Jan 14 - 08:35 AM

well naturally the size of the audience means nowt in some cases. have you ever been in the cinema watching a Mike Leigh film with more than half a dozen in the audience.

but an outfit like the Coen brothers usually have marketing schemes not available to theatre groups and English film makers.

Stuart I would like to agree but can't. All the pressure on folksingers in England to conform to stylistic conventions has come from the 'traditional' camp (who also think they have the inside track on artistic integrity).

The plight of folksingers who stuck to ploughing their own particular furrow has been more heartbreaking than heartening.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: cooperman
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 03:56 AM

I liked the film and the repeated scene at the end just emphasised the idea of going round and round, getting nowhere, repeating the same mistakes. Many artists have gone down the self destruct path and I thought the film portrayed that well. I'm glad it didn't have a 'happy ending' as that would have been fairly untypical.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 06:30 AM

Billy Bragg put on his website that he'd been in the same cinema that I'd Been in, but in the afternoon rather than the evening. Not that I'm avoiding him or anything.

Anyway Billy said there were six in the audience.

Take your point Coop. But I think the conclusion is wrong. The conclusion all us commercially unsuccessful folk singers come to is that maybe there isn't a livingin folk music - but there is much JOY in it.

Also if you're a musician - you can always make aliving and learn much playing for folks. Stuff that the poor old folk singer with his stuffy middle class judgemental audience never dreams of.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 06:35 AM

reading that last - it sounds a bit like sour grapes. But its more the fact that theres awhole world out there that as middle class kid I never dreamed existed. Plustheres a whole world of guitar technology that they won't let into most folk clubs. Stuff that will gladden the heart of any guitarist.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: cooperman
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 07:06 AM

Take your point Al, there IS much joy in it and that's what keeps people(us!)going I guess. Some will always dream of making it big though, not just for financial gain but to reach out to a wider audience and be recognised artistically. In percentage terms though that rarely happens so I think the film was pretty realistic. The Dylan bit at the end shows it did happen though and contrasts well.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,Phil at work
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 08:44 AM

Haven't seen the film yet, but when I read about it I keep thinking of Jackson C. Frank. Or is that just me?


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 08:58 AM

" But, what a joy to hear the ballad "Queen Jane" sung with great integrity as an audition piece. Few others would have chosen it. And that, I suppose, is what makes the film, and its central character, stand out. Say what you like about the film, but you do have to admit that the Cohen Brothers really do know how to make a film."

Mike - it occurred to me the other day that the script for the movie is actually pretty clever, when you think about the subject matter of that song in the context of the character's situation (needing to pay for a abortion). There's a bathos in that his performance is immediately undercut by Grossman's "I don't hear much money here".

It parallels the moment where he performs 'Shoals of Herring' to another older man, his dad. His performance is again bathetically undercut, by his dad pooing himself. I wonder, also, if the historical inaccuracy (he can't have sung 'Shoals of Herring' to his dad as a child, cos it's not a trad folk song, it was written by Ewan McColl) is a very esoteric bit of irony on the Coens' part. (His dad's soiling himself itself echoes, rather literally, the accusation flung at him earlier that everything he touches turns to shit.)

It struck me there were further ironies in the film related to the choice of songs, in that the film opens and closes with him singing about how he's "been all 'round this world" when actually he was frustrated in trying to do just that due to his own incompetence (he accidentally lost his merchant seaman papers). The closest he gets is getting his feet wet in Chicago.

That the cat is called Ulysses, an exceedingly well-travelled sailor, is also ironic. The Coens do so love heaping indignity upon indignity on their characters...

I wasn't so convinced by the 'circularity' brought in at the end; it seemed a bit over the top. Fine, have him crashing in the spare room of the same apartment, but the repeat punching from the stranger just seemed clumsy and out-of-place.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Mark Ross
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 12:47 PM

Watched the 1961 film PARIS BLUES with Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward, Diahan Carroll, and Louis Armstrong last night. What a difference between the two films. Newman plays a jazz musician in Paris in 1960 or so. He is not a terribly likeable person, and he sure makes a lot of the same mistakes as LD in the Coen Brothers, but he sure
takes a lot of pleasure in his music. The Coen Brothers are a little bit too cynical for my taste.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 04:02 PM

I was really looking forward to seeing this film, but then I read in the OP that

' he literally explodes when Mrs. Gofein joins in'.

Sounds a bit messy to me.....


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 08:46 PM

there seems to be also the theme of the sterility of Llewyn's surroundngs (abortions. showbiz breadhead agents, feral club owners) and the desperate anxiety of the characters Queen Jane and Dink for their unborn children.

I think also there is the inference that because the termination was on his mind that Llewyn came to make the wrong call at the audition. Perhaps he felt that the intensity of his reading of the song would produce something great. Mind you, he could have done with Dave Van Ronk there to play the guitar for him. The accompaniment was a bit nothing.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 12:14 AM

Maybe my feelings towards the film, and especially to the character Llewyn, stem from the fact that, like him, I have suffered from depression for most of my adult life...


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 09:20 AM

sorry to hear that Mike. Depression is a really shit illness.. I went through a bad period of it after a bereavement. Panic attacks etc.

I don't think it ever really completely leaves you. Some stupid thing can trigger it off.

I do hope you dont feel too bad at the moment. Feel free to give me a bell and talk anytime. Phone number is on the website.

best wishes

al


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 03:41 PM

>>Haven't seen the film yet, but when I read about it I keep thinking of Jackson C. Frank. Or is that just me?

Not just you. I hadn't actually read anything about the film when I was dragged to see it - the cinema not being my natural habitat - and of course the Van Ronk stuff was fairly obvious but like you I wondered if and how much the scriptwriters/the Coens knew about Frank.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: JJ
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 09:25 AM

This from Dave Van Ronk's book:

"One interesting thing is how few of the people who had been around in the 1950s were involved in this scene. Most of the acts who became popular in the 1960s came from elsewhere, to the point that by about 1962 two-thirds of my close associates were people who had blown into town in the last year or so. I did not particularly notice this at the time, but when I go over the names, there is a striking discontinuity between my coworkers in the Folksingers Guild and the people who became the mainstays of the Village scene once it picked up steam."

Van Ronk hung on. Will Llewyn Davis?


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 10:07 AM

hmmmm......like Rocky4 ?


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 02:36 PM

My interpretation of the repeated scenes is that the entire movie was a flashback -- the beating did not actually happen twice, it's just that in the end we finally put the event in context.

Although I was only just born in 1961, I can understand the criticism of some others who were there or close to Dave van Ronk that the joylessness of this movie is not representative of the scene or of him. It really has to be seen on its own terms, as its own story, that like a Dylan song draws inspiration and even some lines from the past, but is really a separate creation, eaving us with some who cry "thief" and others who don't. I'm not sure where I stand, in the end, except that I know I was not laughing as hard as a few other people in the theater, and wished that I could have.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 03:14 PM

yes I thought it was a flashback


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 05:56 PM

"My interpretation of the repeated scenes is that the entire movie was a flashback -- the beating did not actually happen twice, it's just that in the end we finally put the event in context."

I wondered if we were supposed to think that too, but it doesn't add up: he does different things when he wakes up at the academic's flat at the end of the movie to at the start of the movie – he doesn't play one of his old records, he doesn't make himself scrambled eggs – and, most notably, he doesn't let the cat escape!


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 06:53 AM

Great comment from the great Adrian Legg on Facebook:-

'Llewyn Davis. I was asked for an opinion.
It should be shown in the Fame-style music schools along with Spinal Tap, and students could then be invited to reconsider their career choices.
It won't be so shown because it would be very bad for the schools' business'.


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 04:38 PM

Matt Milton -- I thought that the waking in the apartment scenes were deliberately confusing, that they actually occurred in different places in the timeline. (Can't clarify until the film can be had on video, I guess!)

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: 'Insight' - Inside Llewyn Davis
From: nickp
Date: 01 Feb 14 - 08:35 AM

Saw it yesterday. Interesting - yeah I noticed the Shubb too - and the cat was great. But otherwise I though 'why'? Must have been fun rounding up all the old cars.


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