Serious, Serious Times Call For…

January 15, 2010

There’s a fantastic article on the production design of A Serious Man over at Incontention, one that tries to capture the apparent contradiction between spatial emptiness and richness of setting. The film utilizes a particular type of blank palette, one that needs to capture the inherent possibility of the moment:

“Basically I wanted to tell the story of suburbia and the suburban Jew,” Gonchor says.  “It was the beginning of the suburbs in the Midwest.  So I wanted everything to look as new and as fresh as possible, everything from the inside of the temple to the neighborhood.  I wanted to get across a sense of a new beginning and a new world.”

A new world, rife with possibilities but not yet developed enough to be truly comfortable or even properly defined. The protagonist struggles with establishing his property; his neighbor constantly encroaches on his yard. No fences make bad neighbors for the Jew hoping to be accepted as equal partner in settling the new land. This is, in a sense, a frontier story, and the production design goes to great lengths to define it this way.

Easily one of the best movies of the year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: