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The Man Who Wasn't There

The Man Who Wasn't There

The Man Who Wasn't There

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2001 / 116min / 35mm

DIRECTOR: JOEL COEN, ETHAN COEN

CAST: BILLY BOB THORNTON, FRANCES MCDORMAND, MICHAEL BADALUCCO, JAMES GANDOLFINI

Adam Nayman, author of the new critical study The Coen Brothers: The Book Really Ties the Film Together, will discuss the film with Vanity Fair film critic K. Austin Collins; copies of the book will be available for signing by the author before and after the screening.

“Life has dealt me some bum cards, or maybe I just haven’t played ‘em right,” says Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton), the existentially tormented hero of Joel and Ethan Coen’s monochrome masterpiece The Man Who Wasn’t There. Winner of a Best Director prize at Cannes in 2001, the film—which riffs on an eclectic collection of sources ranging from Albert Camus to James M. Cain, with some 1950s sci-fi paranoia thrown in—may be the Coens’ most underrated feature, and also arguably their most beautiful, with Roger Deakins’ black-and-white cinematography cloaking the characters and their motives in long, impenetrable shadows.