Jim Jarmusch

April 7, 2011

Jim Jarmusch

Jim almost always works with foreign investors. Why? Because they will let him make his films the way he wants. He doesn’t have to answer to a boardroom of business school grads who took a theater or literary class one semester and know everything about story telling (yes, I said that in one breath). Is he always successful? No. But at least he’s unsuccessful on his own terms. I saw him speak at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in the mid 90’s. He was very entertaining and not only showed clips from his films, but also a student film starring Frankie Faizon. He also had begun his Coffee & Cigarettes film way back then. The bit he showed us was with Iggy Pop and Tom Waits.

Stranger Than Paradise – His first feature. Kinda reminded me of the German New Wave of the 70’s (not necessarily the boredom of those films, but the pacing). This was shot by Tom DiCillo who’s a better cinematographer than a director. For you Lounge Lizards fans, John Lurie not only acts in this, but did the score.
Down By Law – Great photography by Robby Müller. Roberto Benigni’s best role to date.
Dead Man – Too long, but I liked it. Gary Farmer is always good. Look him up in Pow Wow Highway (great little film).
Ghost Dog – Not great, but entertaining for what it is.
The Limits of Control – Not sure how I feel about this one yet. It was interesting, but redundant. Jim is either wasting our time, or he’s actually making some art (I think he just used his investor’s money to have a vacation in Seville). Note to Paz de la Huerta: I realize you get most of your jobs because of your willingness to disrobe, but do your career a favor and choose non-speaking roles. Your dead, monotone voice is not your friend. You woulda been great in the silent era (is that too mean?). Also, did anyone else catch the connection between this and Down By Law? He used the same trick for the Lone Man breaking into the house, that the convicts used to break out of prison in Down By Law (in that, they just appear, and we don’t see the process. clever). In Down By Law, they escape because Robert has “seen many American movies.” In Limits of Control, the Lone Man uses his “imagination.”

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