Netflix’s “Beef” ramps up the tension with David Choe’s title art

Series creator Lee Sung Jin tells IndieWire that he uses the 10 cover paintings to visually turn the screws on the characters of his Netflix series.

One of the twisty joys of “Beef” is the way the show ramps up the drama between Amy (Ali Wong) and Danny (Steven Yeun) after their paths cross in a road rage incident. A major factor in the show’s anger management issues is the editing, which can hammer a cut or undercut a moment like a sledgehammer. But perhaps the most entertaining way that “Beef” accelerates Amy and Danny’s spiral of revenge is through the opening page of each episode.

The cover art for “Beef” is abrupt, but visually conveys everything that makes the characters so flawed: each card looks like a museum piece on its surface, with deeper artistic merit, especially as the show’s scores fuel the footage. . But this demand for a certain meaning is betrayed by the font of the images and the cropping of the episode titles – the score, the artwork, the text and the editing come together as if trying to pop an invisible balloon. The opening provides a starting point for the show’s particular palette of chaos, born from the everyday hypocrisy of ordinary people and elevated into something wild and strange. And that’s the mood that creator Lee Sung Jin wanted to create from the beginning.

“When I was creating the PowerPoint presentation for the customers, I wanted a very flashy cover to grab everyone’s attention. I loved the 16th century painting.Meat stall, where the Holy Family gives almsFor a while, and I felt that the look and themes of the painting fit the mood of the show,” Lee told IndieWire. Lee had planned to use classic paintings for the public in all 10 episodes to convey the feel of the bomber and the subversive hilarity of the piercing, but on set he came up with an even better solution.

A collage of different front pages "Beef" the 2-10.  from part.

The front pages of “Beef”.


David Choe, who plays Isaac, suggested that I use his paintings. He stopped showing his work publicly more than a decade ago, so he had hundreds of paintings that no one had ever seen,” Lee said. “He kindly allowed me to choose the ones that best fit the episodes.” Choe’s work is a perfect match for the series, frenetic and full of confused emotions – be it lust, longing, or something nastier.

Lee then customized the title text to match each painting. “I worked closely with the company Sarofsky in the design of each address. Specifically, we used a lot of late ’90s and early August albums and magazines as inspiration Ray GunJin said. “The typeface was also customized by Sarofsky. We went through hundreds of fonts and ended up with Balboa, but we had to tweak a few things to our liking.” The tweaks do their little smarts to turn the screws as the series progresses, and they seem like increasingly manic screen prints of something that should be a lot more sleek and tidy.

But Lee credits most of the headlines to composer Bobby Krlic (a.k.a. The Haxan Cloak), whose work on TV and film tends to be grandiose celebrations of the twisted and screwed, from “The Alienist” to “The Alienist.” Midsommar’ and ‘Beau Is Afraid’ “To me, Episode 3 feels like the perfect marriage between the painting and the score,” said Lee, and the pounding drums and dissonant horns somehow capture Danny’s panic attack over being spotted by his daughter Amy as he tries to commit the light arson and Amy. with a fake smile, as he says, a new chapter in his family will soon begin.

Episode 10 cover "Beef"



While Lee loves this moment, his favorite painting is the finale’s “Figures of Light.” “It captures an experience that reflects how reality changes for Danny and Amy in the series finale, and even perspective,” he says. “The figure in the painting is looking down at the mess on the ground in exactly the same way that the overhead camera shot is of Danny and Amy’s wrecked cars.” Whatever twists and turns each episode of “Beef” takes, the opening titles are the show’s way of pulling the strings.

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