“All this, for a roll of bread with butter?” Cosmic Insignificance in the Films of Joel and Ethan Coen
Despite this surface level volatility, the brothers’ filmography does not feel erratic. On the contrary, there’s a certain common sensibility that runs through all of their pictures. It is an easy sensibility to identify, but a harder one to nail down and articulate. This brings us back to “Bontsche Schvayg.” The inclusion of “Bontsche” in Raising Arizona is not just another Jewish allusion for a knowing audience, but can be used as a map to better understand the view of the world that the Coens depict on screen. The tone and message of this somewhat cryptic Yiddish short story can be used to analyze their somewhat cryptic filmography.
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