[Marxism] Joel and Ethan Coen: “My God, we don’t watch our own movies!” - Salon.com

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Dec 5 03:46:41 MST 2013

I'll be watching this today:


Some say that the film's main character owes something to Dave Van Ronk 
who was sympathetic to the Trotskyist movement in the early 60s. Here's 
a relevant part of the Salon interview, where they deny such a connection.

E.C.: There was also a political factionalism that we kind of thought 
the movie would get into, but it never really did as we were writing it. 
It didn’t go there, except for the one gag.

J.C.: Yeah, about the disputes among the communists, between the 
Trotskyites and the Shachtmanites.

Which is the only gag about the Shachtmanites in the history of cinema.

J.C.: [Laughter.] I’m pretty sure you’re right about that.

E.C.: This is also the only movie in the history of movies, I think, to 
be certified kosher for Passover. We have a bug at the end. I’m proud 
about that.

J.C. There’s another interesting part of that whole scene, which is that 
Llewyn is a member of a labor union and all that. There’s this whole 
scene in Union Square on 14th Street, where a guy that I know who was 
involved in that scene said you used to have guys like Ewan MacColl in 
the union halls, trying to teach the guys in the labor unions how to 
sing these labor songs and folk songs. What was actually happening at 
the time, of course, was that all the kids downstairs were listening to 

Let’s talk about the resemblance, or non-resemblance, to the career and 
biography of Dave Van Ronk.

E.C.: Oh, there isn’t any resemblance. It’s just the songs, some of the 
songs. Here’s the thing: How do you stop something that isn’t true? Van 
Ronk’s memoir is a very funny book. It’s a great book, it’s one of the 
best depictions of this scene. We read it and pilfered a lot from it, 
but nobody would ever mistake our character for Dave Van Ronk.

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