Why do we watch films? Beyond entertainment, beyond distraction, beyond visual dazzlement, what I look for in the movie theater is a sense of recognition, a sense that I understand or have felt previously an emotion expressed on the screen, be it sadness, terror, joy, or confusion. One of the most obvious ways a director can stir identification of this sort is through cinematography. The Coen brothers, for instance, use the POV shot to their advantage, as well they should, given that many of the scenarios they describe are beautifully outlandish and, being so, require extra nudging to bring them within the range of most viewers’ identification. This fun and discombobulating video essay by frequent Press Play contributor Jacob T. Swinney takes us through the Coens’ numerous POV explorations: watch, and see if you don’t feel something for the bedraggled, flung-around, assaulted, and entrenched characters in these films, from ‘The Big Lebowski‘ to ‘Inside Llewyn Davis‘ to ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?‘ and onwards.
Watch: The Coen Brothers Show Their Humanity Through the POV Shot