Few movies have captured the spirit of culture like Fargo did for Minnesota. From the outsized flannels down to the lovably obnoxious patois, the Coen brothers masterpiece was a near-perfect portrait of Nowheresville life. The flick plays out like a news brief headline: A small town car salesman collaborates with two thugs to kidnap his wife, setting off a chain of murders across Minnesota. Theres ineffable small-mindedness (ransoming your wife to your father-in-law), stranger than fiction plot turns (innocent bystanders get capped), and enough gruesome violence to shock any gorehound (death by wood chipper). And anchoring the whole thing is Francis McDormands pregnant policewoman, Marge Gunderson. Shes the one rock of normalcy in the whole film equal parts everywoman and super heroine.
But Fargos more than just a disturbing look at small town life. There are some big messages at work there from the dissolution of the nuclear family to our desensitization to tragedy. And thats just the kind of meaty fare that Cinéma Vérité likes to gnaw on. The monthly film series searches for truth in film by viewing films both modern and classic, then discussing them in a group setting. Although Vérité is sponsored by CityChurch of Fort Lauderdale, a Presbyterian organization, the discussion applies to truth-seekers of all faiths. All you have to do is show up at 7 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso (503 S.E. Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale) with $5 in your pocket and a willingness to dig deeper into film. Call 954-525-FILM, or visit www.myspace.com/vivalacinema. JOHN LINN
Mon., Sept. 15, 7 p.m., 2008