a1 Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Starting with its opening scene, A Serious Man offers a complex, provocative engagement with the role of storytelling in Jewish life, past and present. Many viewers have wondered how the film's “shtetl” prologue relates to its main story, set in Minneapolis in 1967. They have often speculated that there is some plot-driven relationship that they somehow missed. But the connection, by the filmmakers' own assertion, is not diegetic; rather, it is thematic, and storytelling figures strategically in articulating this link.