Joel and Ethan Coen on the set of "A Serious Man" (Image courtesy of Walker Art Center)
Oscar-winning Twin Cities natives Joel and Ethan Coen spent almost two and a half hours with Elvis Mitchell and a sold-out theater at the Walker this evening, talking about films, film-making, and where they find inspiration.
It was a fascinating and at times surprising conversation, not least for the Coens themselves. A number of times during the evening they considered the interpretations of their work which Mitchell posed to them, and more often than not they came away agreeing.
The one that seemed to give them biggest pause was his contention all their films have been at their heart chase movies, barring the latest one, "A Serious Man." Ultimately they didn't argue very hard on that one.
More details tomorrow when I have had time to decipher my notes.
I think A Serious Man may well also be considered a chase movie; the chase being between understanding and death. Who wins? Good question. Death, at least, is guaranteed to finish the race.
I think if you look at many of the interviews with Joel and Ethan Coen you will find the interviewer trying to place meaning and motive to their body of work and that they shruggingly agree. Rarely do they fight to uphold a strictly narrow and crafted analytical significance to their work. They like making movies and for them it is action and not a complex mind game.