No Depression

The Coen Brothers grant Ulysses a Southern setting in their Thirties-style road saga O Brother, Where Art Thou?

"There are things in our movies that might not come from a particular movie per se," Coen continued, "but from a general awareness in the culture....It's not a question of being cagey about it." Granted, maybe it's more a question of the filmmakers' not-unusual desire to latch freely onto whatever happens to be drifting through their psyches: Certainly, it has worked wonders for them up to now. And since the Coen Brothers' inarticulate assessment of their art has--unconsciously--left this critic with a reason for being, it makes sense to conclude by cataloging the contents of a key shot in O Brother, Where Art Thou? After a digitized tidal wave conveniently rescues the heroes from their fate (and the film from its responsibility to realism), we see from underwater a container of Ulysses' precious Dapper Dan hair wax, a rope swing, and a record player floating across the screen--the appropriated cultural signifiers that the Coens' imaginations have bestowed upon their audience.

Now, wasn't it Joseph Campbell who said that water is the symbol of the unconscious? And might one of his works be adaptable for the next Coen Brothers movie?

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