A Serious Man, the Coen Brothers’ most Jewy pic ever, held its U.S. premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York last night, with an afterparty at the venerable Friars Club. [Trailer after the jump.] The screening launched the new Friars Club Comedy Film Festival, happening this weekend.
The film opens with a prologue entirely in Yiddish about a dybbuk’s visit late one snowy night in the shtetl. From there, it jumps to the story of highly put-upon professor Larry Gopnik, struggling to live the life of a mensch in a 1967 Midwestern Jewish community. The movie is replete with a cantorial soundtrack, students smoking pot in the Hebrew school bathroom, visits to multiple rabbis in search of answers and one of the more memorable Bar Mitzvah Torah portion scenes on celluloid.
Sighted at the Ziegfeld and after-party: The Coens and fellow Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes; Joel Coen’s wife and Oscar winner Frances McCormand; The Sopranos‘ Big Pussy and Uncle Junior; Susan Lucci’s breasts; Inglourious Basterd Samm Levine; Jeff Goldblum; Robert Wuhl; several recurring cast members of Woody Allen films; TV actor Tom Cavanagh; and writer Jonathan Ames, whose new HBO show Bored to Death, starring Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zack Galifianakis, premiered last week.
In the show, Schwartzman’s character, a wannabe unlicensed private eye named Jonathan Ames, carries around a beat-up Raymond Chandler paperback in his blazer pocket. Last night, the real Jonathan Ames had a beat-up Raymond Chandler paperback just sticking out of his blazer pocket.