Scroll and Tablet Blog

Posted on May 25th, 2024 in Events, Local by Elizabeth W. Thill

Missed your opportunity to see O Brother Where Art Thou? as part of our Classics at the Kan-Kan series? Well, the gods have given you another chance…

Looking for the film adaptation of The Odyssey that stays truest to the spirit of Homer’s original epic poem? No, it’s not that Kirk Douglas monstrosity Ulysses, where the only thing more cheesy and frightening than the Cyclops is Douglas’ Odysseus hitting on a way-too-young-looking Princess Nausicaa. No, it’s not the French film The Odyssey, which is actually a biopic of Jacques Cousteau. For my money, the best modern manifestation of The Odyssey is O Brother Where Art Thou?, a film directed by the Coen Brothers and set in the Deep South of 1930s America. The plots of both poem and film revolve around a man named Odysseus/Ulysses escaping from imprisonment and taking his comrades on a trek of wild adventures, all to get home to his wife Penelope. Classical Myth fans might spot specific references to the epic poem, from the seductive ladies singing siren songs in the creek, to the one-eyed monster who threatens the group’s homecoming in more ways than one. But the references go much deeper than that. There are call-outs to obscure details and imitations of the poem’s distinctive epic rhythm. More importantly, the two works share a theme of whether Odysseus/Ulysses is a clever hero, or a narcissistic loser who endangers the well-being of everyone around him for personal gain. And it just gets better. On the press tour, the Coen Brothers claimed they had never read The Odyssey. Given that this is obviously untrue, what sort of faith can we have in our storytellers, Odysseus or otherwise?

Want to see a film that features an exploration of human nature, bluegrass music, and a cow on a roof? Join the Granfalloon Film Series on Saturday, June 01, 4:00 PM for a special big-screen showing of O Brother Where Art Thou? at the KanKan Cinema and Brasserie in downtown Indy, sponsored by the IU-Indianapolis Arts and Humanities Institute. CLAS faculty Dr. Andy Findley will be hosting a post-show book discussion. So come see the movie, or else be doomed as a man of constant sorrows. 

  • What: O Brother Where Art Thou? on the big screen
  • When: Saturday, Jun 01, 4:00 PM
  • Where: KanKan Cinema and Brasserie (1258 Windsor St Indianapolis IN)
  • How: Buy Tickets
  • What Else:
    • pre-show discussion by Classical Studies faculty Dr. Andy Findley