Inside Llewyn Davis showing at CVAG Sunday

Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver (from left) are seen in Joel and Ethan Coen
Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver (from left) are seen in Joel and Ethan Coen's film Inside Llewyn Davis.
— image credit: Photo by Alison Rosa

The Comox Valley Art Gallery Winter Film Series continues this Sunday at 5 p.m. with a film from talented brothers Ethan and Joel Coen.

Inside Llewyn Davis is a smart, funny, and profoundly melancholy take on the early 1960s folk music scene.

Winner of the Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Inside Llewyn Davis recounts a desolate week in the life of a fictional folk musician in early 1960s New York. Brilliantly written and directed by the Coens (True Grit, A Serious Man, Burn After Reading, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski), the film is a humorous, heartfelt, and bittersweet ode to squandered opportunities, thwarted ambition, and unsung genius.

A gorgeous opening scene in Greenwich Village's Gaslight Café introduces us to Davis (a delightfully rumpled and bearded Oscar Isaac; Drive, W.E.) as he sings a bleak but beautiful song called Hang Me, Oh Hang Me.

Llewyn has been attempting a solo career, having just split from his performing partner, but despite his extraordinary talent and good looks, he just can't seem to catch a break. Desperately low on money, he tramps the cold streets of New York, guitar in hand, playing only the tiniest of gigs.

With his music career stalled, Llewyn has reached a personal crossroads and is unsure whether to continue in a world that doesn't seem ready for what his songs have to say.

Loosely inspired by the life and music of iconic Greenwich Village folk musician Dave Van Ronk and his memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street, Inside Llewyn Davis perfectly captures the atmosphere of the '60s folk boom through its resonant soundtrack (curated by T-Bone Burnett), exquisite production design and cinematography.

Isaac gives a mesmerizing performance in the lead, suffusing his troubled troubadour with both easy charm and subdued anger. Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, An Education) stands out in her supporting role as an irascible and foul-mouthed fellow folk musician who may or may not be pregnant with Llewyn's child. Moving and mordantly funny, Inside Llewyn Davis shows the Coen Brothers at the top of their game.

Tickets are available at the CVAG Gift Shop at 580 Duncan Ave. in Courtenay and at the door if available (Door: cash only, exact change appreciated). All screenings are at the Rialto Theatre. To purchase tickets over the phone call CVAG at 250-338‑6211.

For complete film series information, visit www.comoxvalleyartgallery.com.

— Comox Valley Art Gallery

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