Best Picture nominee "A Serious Man" shot several scenes at my alma mater, St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. The movie's a period piece, set in the 1960s, and the Coen brothers' search for a 1960s-era lecture hall led them to St. Olaf.
The most memorable image shot at the school is likely the blackboard that takes up an entire wall of the lecture hall, filled with physics formulas. Showing a real attention to detail, they enlisted the aid of a retired St. Olaf College professor who, working with an artist, filled the blackboard with physics equations that would have been appropriate in a '60s classroom. Another retired St. Olaf professor, James Cederberg, designed the blackboard used in another scene, with the aid of '60s books and journals.
Now St. Olaf is trying to make some money off their moment in the spotlight. A portion of the blackboard will be auctioned off (along with the oh-so-important Coen brothers-signed letter of authenticity) to raise money to benefit current students.
As far as the film itself goes, I'd definitely recommend it. It's a film that leaves you feeling unsettled, but if that's something you're OK with, it's fascinating. It tells the story of a modern day Job, beaten down by life but still searching for the answers and trying to do the right thing. It's thought provoking, raising questions about theology, philosophy, family and more.
View the trailer below:
Behind the scenes featurette:
Photo via • so what/Flickr