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Dark comedy 'A Serious Man' to screen

A Serious Man DVD CoverRELEASED: Feb. 3, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — Joel and Ethan Coen's "A Serious Man" (2009) will screen Feb. 17-20 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. "A tart, brilliantly acted fable of life's little cosmic difficulties" (Chicago Tribune), the film will be shown at 6 and 8:30 p.m. in Davies Theatre.

"Writer-directors Joel and Ethan have seized the opportunity afforded by the Oscar-winning success of 'No Country for Old Men,' to make their most personal, most intensely Jewish film, a pitch-perfect comedy of despair that, against some odds, turns out to be one of their most universal as well," wrote Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan. "Set in a very specific time and place — the Jewish community in suburban Minneapolis circa 1967 — that closely echoes the Coens' own background, 'A Serious Man' is a memory piece re-imagined through the darkest possible lens."

The dark comedy centers on Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), professor of physics. He watches his life unravel as his wife prepares to leave him for a pompous colleague (Fred Melamed). The tenure committee at college is getting derogatory unsigned letters about him. His deadbeat brother (Richard Kind) won't get off the couch. His son is having problems at Hebrew school, and his self-absorbed daughter is filching money from his wallet. Struggling for equilibrium, Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis. Can anyone help him cope with his afflictions and become a righteous person, a mensch, a serious man?

"'A Serious Man' is not only hauntingly original, it's the final piece of the puzzle that is the Coens," David Edelstein wrote in New York Magazine. "Combine suburban alienation, philosophical inquiry, moral seriousness, a mixture of respect for and utter indifference to Torah, and, finally, a ton of dope, and you get one of the most remarkable oeuvres in modern film."

Sponsored by the University Activities Commission of the Student Senate, the 106-minute film is rated R for language, some sexuality and nudity and brief violence.

Admission is free at the door with a Blugold Card or International Film Society membership. Community members who wish to attend campus films must purchase an annual IFS membership at the Service Center (715-836-3727) in Davies Center's east lobby. An individual membership costs $4; a family membership costs $10.

More information about the campus film series is available online and at the Activities and Programs office in Davies Center 133.

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JS/DW

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