Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Serious Man – Being A Fool When Everyone Is Smart

A Serious Man – Being A Fool When Everyone Is Smart

I was thinking about the film A Serious Man, made by the Coen brothers. The film is unusual because it ‘begins’ with a short film shot in sepia about a poor Jewish couple in nineteenth century Russia who are visited by a dybbuk (a malicious spirit) that has inhabited the body of a recently deceased rabbi.
The wife is fearful and practical. The husband is ambivalent and hesitant. There is not much of a story but the thread that runs through it is that the wife is certain that she and her husband will be visited by more bad luck.
Then we segue into the main film – A Serious Man – about a man who watches his life fall apart around him. Set in the present day, the main protagonist is a lecturer at a college somewhere on the East Coast of the U.S. – an intelligent man with a responsible job.
His wife is leaving with another man and doing it right under his nose. His daughter ignores and derides him. His son, who is soon to be bar-mitzvah’d, seems to be in a world of his own. His boss at work is enigmatic and disconcerting. His wife’s new boyfriend patronises him.

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