Brothers’ odyssey

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Chocolat (2000), directed by Lasse Hallström

Joel and Ethan Coen came up with a strange concept for O Brother, Where Art Thou?: they took major elements of Homer's Odyssey and set them in the Depression-era South. George Clooney's character is named Ulysses, the cyclops is represented by a Bible salesman with a patch over one eye, a blind seer comes along on a handcar, and of course, there are three bathing sirens.

Like the Odyssey, the film is episodic. A flimsy plot is used to hang together ten- to 15-minute stories that are for the most part dropped as soon as they are finished. This style can make for a compelling film (like last year's Jesus' Son), but the individual stories must be powerful. In O Brother, the odds of that are about even.

 

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