Inoekino presents a Jim Jarmusch retrospective dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the American independent film icon. From January 19 to 25, in select theaters in Russia, viewers will be able to see seven of the director’s classic films: Coffee and Cigarettes, Dead Man, Night on Earth, Mystery Train, Outlaw, Stranger Than in Paradise” and “Vacation Without End”, which are the most important part of Jarmusch’s legacy. We got acquainted with the program of the retrospective of the main “foreigner” among American directors and talked about the films in more detail.
COFFEE AND CIGARETTES (2003)
Elegant, clandestine, and deeply moving, Jarmusch’s universe is filled with bumbling drifters, outsiders, and outcasts seeking freedom while simultaneously finding common ground with reality and other people. In Coffee and Cigarettes, an all-star cast (Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Iggy Pop and Jack White) discuss everything in eleven comic vignettes, from Tesla coils and 1920s Paris to alternative medicine and the other side of fame. , but in Jarmusch’s approach invariably remain everyday joys, misunderstandings, addictions and fantasies.
“Coffee and cigarettes” is an example of Jarmusch’s ability to combine film and music, which is manifested not only in the dialogue of the characters, but also in the very way of building the narrative: “When the first two novels were ready I thought I’d do a few more, so they’re all subtly connected and together give a cumulative effect. As soon as there were eleven, the analogy with a music album came to mind, and I realized that novels work precisely together.
DEAD MAN / DEAD MAN (1995)
The cult psychedelic western Dead Man is one of the most unusual representatives of the genre in the history of cinema and Jarmusch’s most beloved film by the public. It is a mystical road movie and a postmodern parable, compiled by the director from fragments of historical facts, myths and cultural allusions. A recurring question in the film is, is there tobacco? About this, the protagonist William Blake is especially asked, who stubbornly replies that he does not smoke. Jarmusch used this joke to show that Blake is an outsider in the world of the Wild West.
Tobacco for the Indians is something sacred, it was used as a gift and in ritual ceremonies. Blake, like a stupid white man, perceives tobacco exclusively in a consumption sense. Jarmusch even decided to make the line “I don’t smoke” the last one in the film, thus again showing respect to the native Americans: “I hope the last line was a hilarious joke for them, they say, this white man didn’t understand anything. .”
NIGHT ON EARTH (1991)
Jim Jarmusch wrote Night on Earth in eight days. And although the characters in his films know how to shut up, this film really gives a lot to talk about. Here’s how the director wrote the dialogue: “I just listen to the characters talk in my head and write after them. I don’t have a conversation plan, I just like to listen to them, rather even spy on them, and write down any nonsense they carry. I’m happy when this happens.If not, I get upset because the dialogue seems contrived to me, because I make it up, I don’t write it down.
Filming “Night on Earth”, Jim Jarmusch caught the star for the first time. Her name was Winona Ryder and she was not twenty years old. The director had never worked with Hollywood stars before, though his films featured future pop culture icons. The score for “Night on Earth” was written by Jarmusch’s friend Tom Waits, who found the director’s cue: “He always felt like an immigrant in the world of teenagers. Yes, and he remained that way: a benevolent outsider. and enchanted. All his films deal with that.
mystery train (1989)
Jarmusch’s first color film and one of his most overtly comic works, Mystery Train is a dedication to Memphis. To write the script, the director didn’t even need to visit the city: he then went there to understand how to combine the text with real places. Memphis is the crossroads of America, a once thriving empire that was clearly in decline in the late 1980s. It was once the home of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison. The city of the legendary Sun Studio recording studio. City where Martin Luther King was assassinated.
Jarmusch arrived in Memphis during a heavy snowfall. The first night he wandered aimlessly through the city, and in the blizzard he imagined the ghosts of celebrities who in the recent past walked the streets, stayed in hotels, waited for the train at the station. In the future, tourists in the United States will only be attracted to the former homes of rock stars and Hollywood actors, the director is convinced. So, by the way, Elvis appeared in the movie, and it was the King who became the connecting figure of three stories that take place over 24 hours in Memphis.
OUTSIDE THE LAW / DOWN BY THE LAW (1983)
Outlaw is one of the quintessential early Jarmusch films, the story of three random inmates, outcasts, and misfits played by Tom Waits, Roberto Benigni, and John Lurie. Bob, Benigni’s character in Outlaw, only takes his full place in the plot towards the middle, though he blinks before that with the unforgettable line “It’s a sad and beautiful world.”
Jarmusch and Benigni met at a film festival in Italy, not far from Parma. They didn’t know anything about each other, didn’t watch each other’s movies, didn’t even hear each other’s names. Benigni said they went to lunch and somehow, not knowing each other’s language (“We speak with our bodies, our eyes”), they were able to become friends immediately. Jarmusch asked Benigni to be in his new movie, and the actor agreed without even reading the script or knowing what the story would be about. After Outlaw, Benigni starred in Jarmusch’s films two more times: Night on Earth and Coffee and Cigarettes.
STRANGER THAN IN PARADISE / STRANGER THAN PARADISE (1984)
Stranger Than Paradise is a cult road movie about America through the eyes of immigrants and a story about the endless search for one’s place in the world. Willy has been living in New York for ten years, making money betting on horse races and cheating, and in every way denies his Hungarian origin. Suddenly, Eva, a young cousin from Budapest, falls on his head. Their relationship doesn’t work out at first, but gradually warms up… One of Stranger Than Paradise’s main musical leitmotifs is “I Put a Spell on You”, performed by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Hawkins wrote this song after breaking up with a girl: initially the composition was slower and more intimate, but then it morphed into a haunting story about obsession and the desire to keep a loved one at all costs. The money Jarmusch paid to use “I Put a Spell on You” went entirely to the record company, while Hawkins did not receive a penny.
When Stranger Than Paradise turned a profit, the director sought out the musician, who was then living in a trailer park, and still gave him some money. Thus began their friendship, which lasted until Hawkins’s death in 2000. Jarmusch recalls that Hawkins constantly tried to repay the money, despite being assured by the director that it was a gift. By the way, Hawkins can be seen in the “Mystery Train” – he played the night manager of the Arcadia Hotel.
ENDLESS VACATION / PERMANENT VACATION (1980)
Endless Vacation is Jarmusch’s debut film and his aborted graduate project at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In his senior year, he was mentored by the legendary Nicholas Ray, director of Rebel Without a Cause. Since then, there has been almost an anecdote about how Jarmusch brought the first script to Ray. Ray then responded that the text lacked momentum and Jarmusch reworked the script to make it even less dense, for which he has already been praised for standing up for opinion and independence.
The budget for Endless Vacation was $12,000: Jarmusch took it from a tuition scholarship. The school was dissatisfied with the misuse of the funds and did not provide the resulting film and a diploma to the director. But Jarmusch received the second prize at the festival in Mannheim, Germany (where he ended up almost by accident), the prize that bears the name of Joseph von Sternberg. This is how director Jim Jarmusch was born, and “Endless Vacation” is the starting point of a distinguished career and one of his most personal films, which already contains the main hallmarks of his lyrics: chance encounters, the special role of the music, the rough urban landscapes and the lyricism. that makes its way against all odds. .