Featured Course – Coen Brothers: Genre & Irony (AMST 322)

Nahom Nega



By Nahom Nega


“One of the pleasures of movies is creating a world . . . it gives you a license to do certain things.” 

– Coen Brothers

For more than thirty years, Joel and Ethan Coen have crafted provocative and humorous films that take on the complicated and serious themes of postmodernism (and post-postmodernism). AMST 322: Coen Brothers: Genre & Irony pays particular attention to the Coen Brothers’ use of genre, specifically: film noir, screwball comedy, and westerns.The Coen Brothers’ strategy will be examined through screenings of their films in the context of their genres, and ideas of irony and post-ironic culture.

The Minnesotan brothers “create” an audience that is both ironically distanced and emotionally connected. The Coen Brothers’ strategies will be examined in this course through screenings of their films and through scholarly analyses of their films in relation to the context of their use of genres and literary sources. The concepts of irony and post-ironic culture are a filter we will use to understand the films.

Blood Simple, Fargo, Burn After Reading, and of course The Big Lebowski, are just a few of the films students study.

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Get to know the Instructor:

Professor Greg Metcalf is a man of many talents, with experience in everything from radio, comedy programming and modeling. Growing up Professor Metcalf spent time in Taiwan, Hong Kong & Minnesota. Professor Metcalf earned his Master of Fine Arts in painting from Bowling Green, and his PhD in Art and Culture from University of Maryland, College Park, successfully paying his way through college as a cartoonist. Metcalf has taught film both at Johns Hopkins, NYU and has even lectured at the Smithsonian. Aside from his hand modeling experience in the past, he also makes ritual art carved from wood directly collected and exhibited internationally.  Professor Metcalf still knows how to talk Minnesotan so if you want to learn from that angle, something will be arranged.



Nahom Nega


Nahom Nega has been a marketing intern at the Division of Professional Studies since August of 2018. He is a sophomore Media and Communication Studies major with a minor in Entrepreneurship. Nahom is also a writer for the Retriever as well as co-founder of OCA Mocha, a entrepreneurial student led initiative to foster a relationship with local communities.