BFI Classics: The Big Lebowski

Author: J. M. Tyree & Ben Walters

Did you know there was a Lebowski convention? The idea isn’t that bizarre when you think about it for a couple of reason. Firstly the film is an instant cult. It’s very quotable and has many colourful characters in it that you’d half expect to see at parties. The other is that it isn’t just sci-fi and fantasy that have big followings nowadays – so in today’s culture there are conventions for a wide variety of films. So I may not know heard of the Lebowski convention – but it doesn’t surprise me either.

And this pretty much sums up the book. There is information inside about the film (from its making; publicity campaign and cult status) that I never knew – but not much of it is very surprising. That isn’t to say that the film is a boring read – it’s a read on a film I love very much and know quite well – and with a sense of how cult and independent films are revered today it is acceptable to me the information that comes across. So I’m not surprised, but pleasantly illuminated.

Of course there is the visual language of the film to discuss as well as the dialogue, and a good space devoted to the dialogue. While this works for the books analysis – it’s also just an instant reminder as to who quotable and well written this material is. Makes you want to stick the movie on.

Obviously there is also a section looking at the comparisons to noir films that The Big Lebowski literally takes apart. And of course there is the odd mention of the Coens other works before and after. And with that in mind we’ll keep fingers crossed that the BFI cover more of their releases.

Steven Hurst

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