Watch: ‘Fargo’: The Cross-References and the Reshaping
When I first learned of the existence of ‘Fargo,’ I’ll have to admit I was a bit skeptical. I’ve never been one for TV spin-offs of any kind, probably since I was traumatized by ‘Joanie Loves Chachi’ as a child. There are some ideas that are self-contained, and would best remain so. ‘Fargo,’ though, as has oft been said, is both a noble expansion of the Coen Brothers’ original film and, really, its own creation. The show runners took a world, created for the original, with its own prim, hospitable rules which dug in against violent animuses swooping in from the depths of the midwest–and expanded on it. What they have now is edgy, trans-generational, and wholly unpredictable. Arnau Orengo has created a video essay on ‘Fargo’ that both defeats and satisfies viewers’ expectations of the series, or the film.
Watch: FARGO’s Blank Interiors and Crushing Exteriors
The characters in FX’s ‘Fargo
‘ wage a steady war against each other–a quiet war, but a persistent one. Just as fervent and just as persistent, however is the clash between the show’s interior rooms and businesses and the sublimity lying just outside them. The tranquil diners, the bland living rooms, the weirdly sleek mansions push stubbornly against the windswept plains and long, frosty highways of the most deserted part of the midwest, where anything could and will happen. You feel cold just looking at the screen. Roger Okamoto does a wonderful job, in this video essay, of juxtaposing inside vs. outside, shelter vs. storm, civilization vs. primordial wilderness, showing that what Noah Hawley and the show’s DP, Dana Gonzales, have created here is not so much a "prestige TV" drama as an ode to the human urge to punctuate silence, either with gunfire, laughter, or good old-fashioned conversation.–Max Winter
Watch: What’s In a Film’s Setting? Plenty.
If pressed, I would probably say that I respond more to films with a more attuned sense of setting. Part of the experience of moviegoing is tucking yourself into something–a director’s sensibility, a created world–and staying there for a while, and this tucking-in is made far more immediate if the physical setting makes a strong impression on you. In a new video essay, Now You See It swims through various setting-heavy films, ranging from ‘Citizen Kane’ to ‘About Schmidt’ to ‘The Life of Pi’ to ‘Fargo,’ and does a solid, old-fashioned analysis of the settings of those films, and why they’re important. The piece is particularly shrewd on ‘Little Miss Sunshine,’ with the socioeconomic transparency of the beauty pageant at the film’s end. So what’s in a film’s setting? The viewer, for the all-too-brief span of the film.