THE COEN BROTHER'S MILLER'S CROSSING: FROM REFERENCE TO BASTARDY - Université Côte d'Azur Access content directly
Journal Articles In Praise of Cinematic Bastardy Year : 2010

THE COEN BROTHER'S MILLER'S CROSSING: FROM REFERENCE TO BASTARDY

Abstract

The third movie by the Coen brothers, Miller's Crossing, marks a turning point for two reasons: because it confirms the duo's parodic and referential esthetics, but also because it foreshadows the rebirth of the gangster film in American cinema, as superbly illustrated by the success of Reservoir Dogs two years later. Miller's Crossing claims affiliation with the early gangster genre and thus fits within a highly coded framework. However, the reference seems established the better to be questioned. Though the 30s historical context and visuals are taken up, the movie's dominant theme (betrayal and the ever increasing suspicion it generates) rather belongs to the film noir while the dialogues point to the hardboiled crime fiction novel. A single generic reference proves insufficient and the film consequently combines several "progenitors." These various sources undergo deviation and variation: first because their importance fluctuates, second because the film develops homage as well as parody. Miller's Crossing's reassuring symmetry (its reliance on recurring places, visual motives and paired characters) then leads to a vertiginous mirror game where signs are echoed, displaced and distorted. The characters prove deceitful or unexpectedly candid; the dynamics combines contemplation with frantic scenes while the visuals open onto oneiric or nightmarish sequences. The plot digresses and shifts, constantly evading interpretation. It is as if the main diegetic concern of "crossing" and "double-crossing" contaminated the movie to generate a singular filmic object, open to the spectator's every conjecture. My contention is that Miller's Crossing is a hypnotic work of art because it stands at a crossroads between generic tribute and metacinematic discourse. Bastardy can then be understood as the specific place where interpretation works within and outside the plot. This paper will be devoted to the shift from generic reference to cinematic bastardy. I will start from generic recognition, then highlight the workings of
Fichier principal
Vignette du fichier
Bastardy final.pdf (359.79 Ko) Télécharger le fichier
Origin : Files produced by the author(s)

Dates and versions

hal-03660616 , version 1 (06-05-2022)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-03660616 , version 1

Cite

Karine Hildenbrand. THE COEN BROTHER'S MILLER'S CROSSING: FROM REFERENCE TO BASTARDY. In Praise of Cinematic Bastardy, 2010. ⟨hal-03660616⟩
12 View
21 Download

Share

Gmail Facebook X LinkedIn More