kent village

“Hitching rides from New York to Chicago; keeping enough change in your pocket to make calls from pay phones; making the rounds of friends and acquaintances living in tenement walk-ups, all with the same makeshift end table next to the same beat-up sofa by the same window looking out on the same fire escape—Inside Llewyn Davis is a story whose every particular is firmly rooted in the early sixties in general, and in the West Village in particular. The Coens have always been zealous excavators of the unheralded or bypassed corners of American life, from late-forties Northern California suburbia to the folkways of the modern American Midwest. They are connoisseurs of the spaces between and the moments before and after or just on the edges of historical milestones. And as storytellers, they seem to begin, gleefully, with a self-imposed challenge: Who is the least likely hero-on-a-quest on whose shoulders we can park an entire movie?

That the Coen brothers are comic artists is lost on no one, but I think of them equally as musical filmmakers. Like Martin Scorsese and the many directors who have come after him, the Coens make films with carefully curated pop-music soundtracks (The Big Lebowski, A Serious Man) tied not only to the ambience but also the thematic drive of the works. Each of the Coens’ movies is “set” to the music of a particular variety of American speech … 

Whenever the characters in this film pick up their instruments and sing, their sense of time, and ours, shifts from the numbingly horizontal to the poetically and ecstatically vertical … Plain American language in all its glory, a deep and aching sadness transfigured by song into what can only be called affirmation, a tattered, bloody flag of freedom planted in the ground of doubt, cruelty, and indeterminacy. That’s the wonder of this music and the movie that holds it.”

from Inside Llewyn Davis: The Sound of Music

By Kent Jones

Read the full essay here.


Pictures of Top Gear stars in boats reveals scenes that fans may now never see on the screen

27 March 2015

Footage that Top Gear fans may never see on the BBC emerged today because  Jeremy Clarkson was thrown off the show.

The BBC presenter was sacked by the channel on Wednesday after an internal investigation found he punched a producer in the face during filming for series 22.

In December last year, Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May brought an unusual brand of their usual motor mayhem to a sleepy Kent village.

Turning their backs on cars and opting for boats and sail boards instead, the trio descended on Chipstead Lake, Sevenoaks, to film.

The usually tranquil waters of the one-time gravel pit - popular with dinghy sailors, birdwatchers and walkers - were rocked by an army of camera crews, directors and producers.

Hammond even did away with his motor to get to Chipstead, choosing to arrive at the recreation ground in a helicopter.

Locals were sworn to secrecy but it would seem the village’s five minutes of fame could now be a victim of Clarkson’s fracas.

Photographer Lewis Durham said that, with the exception of an attempt to tow a boat with a small 4x4, the team ditched their motors and spent most of the day on the water.

He said: “James May had a spell in a dinghy and capsized. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a stunt, I think he went over for real.

‘He wasn’t in any danger - there were safety boats and RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) with production crews buzzing around all the time.

'I’m pretty sure they were filming a challenge because I saw a man in a white coat hand Clarkson a gold envelope.

'I’ve been covering sailing events on this lake for years - from dragon boat racing to the sailing club’s annual children’s summer camp - but I’ve never see anything like this.”