The Man Who Wasn't There, 
by the Coen Brothers. 

By some strange turn of events I saw that truly brilliant film only a few nights ago.   As  a clever allegory for modernity and the storytelling itself it made a huge impression on me:

The elegy for a broken civilization 

camouflaged in a stylish and fancy package.  

Inertia.  It comes from laziness.  

The man who wasn't there.  

Many men weren’t there. 

Many aren’t.

Many won’t.   

All of them absent. 



If they are not weak, they are fools.  

If they are specially gifted, they are very rare and almost freaks. 

Everything hurts with its lack of satisfaction, 

passion and fulfillment. 

The only fleeting moment of relief 

is delivered by a long dead music genius 

or a fresh young girl unaware of brutal future 

waiting for everyone.  

The future that the barber already knows. 

The future of loss, laziness, fear and paralysis. 

UFOs and their pathetic attempts to make sense.


How idiotic.  Or could it be true?

All brainwashed.  Alcohol.  Booze.   Daily drudgery.    

“Throughout all that 

we cut the hair”. 

Futility.   Despair.  

“There is not “what happened”.  Looking at something changes it.”  The Heisenberg Principle in life.

“Science, perception, reality, doubt.  Reasonable doubt.  The more you look, the less you really know.  

That’s a fact.  The only fact that is.”  

Freddie delivers the big speech.  As if an Alien bathed in light.  

Could that mean that all (true) answers are absurd?  Not from this world?

“The more we know the less we know.”
The style tries to catch up with the story and by design fails to do so.  

It happens that way because the film is also about the inability

to contain the truth within a genre.  

The Heisenberg Principle in storytelling.  

The characters as the prisoners of style.  

Ed is seemingly cool.  

In reality he is miserable and scared shitless.  

He wants out of his style.  That’s why he extends himself toward Birdy. 

But Ed Crane can’t escape to be a barber.  

When he waits for Birdy to finish her audition 

he does not see young boys waiting against the opposite wall.  

He only sees their hairdos.  

Then he learns that the girl does not have a soul to be a pianist.  

Does he have a soul?

Just before he is executed his perception is again only that of a barber. 

(Even though earlier he saw a UFO!)

Just like a filmmaker, he can’t escape his tools. 

A man who finally learns to accept 

that his identity is his job.  

That’s the best he can do.  




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