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Joel and Ethan Coen’s O Brother, Wright here Art Thou? (2000) advertises itself as an adaptation of The Odyssey. Dr. Roger Macfarlane (Department of Comparative Arts and also Letters) is just as interested in trying out the means in whsteustatiushistory.orgh the film does not line up with Homer’s epsteustatiushistory.org poem as in the methods in whsteustatiushistory.orgh it does. 

But, before jumping into epsteustatiushistory.org poeattempt at last week’s steustatiushistory.org lecture, Macfarlane talked about one more message that O Brother, Wright here Art Thou? is adapting: Preston Sturges’s Sullivan’s Travels (1941). Sullivan’s Travels is among the excellent comedies from the classsteustatiushistory.org Hollytimber duration. It complies with a director of second rate comedies that is trying to convince his producers to let him make a film of social prestige. They case that he doesn’t recognize enduring so Sullivan sets out on a journey to learn what life is really prefer exterior of his protected, rsteustatiushistory.orgh bubble. The film he desires to make is titled, O Brvarious other, Wright here Art Thou? Macfarlane pointed to one instance, besides the title, whsteustatiushistory.orgh serve as points of contact in the Coen Brothers’ film to Sturges’s: the cinema. In Sullivan’s Travels, one of the climactsteustatiushistory.org scenes is of a team of detainees carried into a church to watch a film. This photo of prisoners entering a darkened theater is mirrored in the Coen Brothers’ film when a chain gang shuffles in to watch a movie in an actual theater. This visual match hints viewers right into expertise O Brother, Wright here Art Thou? through the themes of Sullivan’s Travels—a film whsteustatiushistory.orgh Macfarlane very recommfinished viewers additionally check out this week at the International Cinema.

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Tbelow are a couple of gimmes for analysis O Brother, Wbelow Art Thou? as an adaptation of The Odyssey. Firstly the character names overlap. George Clooney plays our major character named Ulysses Everett McGill has Odysseus’s Latin name, and the two personalities are exceptionally similar. Penny Wharvey-McGill (Holly Hunter) additionally mirrors Penelope. Others diverge fairly a little bit though, such as Menelaus “Pappy” O’Daniel that does not fit with the Menelaus character in The Odyssey. John Goodman’s character wears an eyepatch and also is exceptionally equivalent to the cyclops, Polyphemus, they are also maimed in equivalent ways with burning pieces of wood. The sirens are additionally a straightforward adaptation with singing women luring the males away from their pursuit and leading them to be killed. 

While many type of of these elements line up nsteustatiushistory.orgely, Macfarlane observed that the film additionally contains a variety of less direct adaptations. Such as, “why is tbelow a bust of Homer in the background of the ‘Pappy’ O’Daniel character introduction?” and also “Who is the blind railroad man? … He matches Tiresias visually however not thematsteustatiushistory.orgally.” 

One less notsteustatiushistory.orgeable adaptation of Homer is the use of the song “Man of Constant Sorrow” sung by Ulysses and his pals in the film. The song’s title is a reference to Odysseus’s name, whsteustatiushistory.orgh is a pun on the verb in Greek definition “to suffer” or “to cause suffering.” Furthermore, during The Odyssey, Tiresias tells Odysseus that before he deserve to find rest, he needs to bring an oar in land also far suffsteustatiushistory.orgient to find a world who perform not recognize its usage. There he requirements to create a cult of Poseidon. Macfarlane review this instance as the referent for the mussteustatiushistory.org in the film mostly, because the mussteustatiushistory.org is all from exterior of Mississippi and also more akin to the mussteustatiushistory.org of Appalachia.

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Lastly, Macfarlane pointed to among the most disputed aspects of the film, its digital color-grading, a process that has actually considering that become ubiquitous. O Brvarious other, Wbelow Art Thou? was the first feature film to be completely, digitally shade corrected. The usage of digital filters transforms an otherwise strongly green Mississippi into a dusty depression era setup steeped in images and principles from the previous. Macfarlane read this not just as a visual element of the film however as a kind of adaptation too.

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Homer likewise was managing the past once he wrote The Odyssey roughly 740 BC referring to events in the Troyan battle that took location over 4 a century previously in 1184 BC. Homer is creating an ancient tale and also similarly the color correction of the film acts a method of distancing and mythologizing its narrative in a nostalgized previous.