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Coen brothers’ NYC Film Forum series brings ‘Big Lebowski’ and more

There’s a strong case to be made that the Coen brothers are the greatest living filmmakers.

But even if you disagree with that argument, and cite worthy contenders ranging from Martin Scorsese to Werner Herzog as a response, there’s still no getting around the fundamental reality that Joel and Ethan have indelibly impacted cinema in a fashion that transcends simple excellence.

Their unique artistic perspective — with its affinity for kitsch, broad satire and uncompromising humanism, its small observant moments and sweeping perspective, its impeccable sense of genre craftsmanship and keen understanding of Americana in all its absurdity — has inspired a generation of imitators while irrevocably influencing the way narratives unfold on-screen.

With the latest from the brothers, the broad comedy “Hail, Caesar!,” starring Coens’ staple George Clooney hitting theaters Feb. 5, Film Forum is offering a can’t miss retrospective of this singular fraternal genius.

You can’t go wrong with any of the movies showing during this series, though the greatest Coens movie, “Fargo,” is currently in the final days of a weeklong run at Film Forum and won’t be around next week.

The Coen brothers film retrospective runs from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 at Film Forum. For a full schedule, go to filmforum.org.

These are some of the best of the rest, in no particular order:

Robert Levin