Indie Icons: Oh, so that’s Jim Jarmusch!
I may have heard his name once or twice before, but prior to checking out his films on IMDB I had no idea who Jim Jarmusch was! I had however seen two of his movies, Dead Man (1995) and Night on Earth (1991), both of which I really liked. In fact, Night on Earth was shown to me by a friend of mine, who raved about the brilliant director who shot it, but his name never stuck with me. I became a big fan of the movie as it had two of my favorite components– several intertwining plot lines, and most importantly intimate character development and a focus on clever, yet casual and realistic dialogue, this aspect I would later discover is prevalent in nearly all of his work. Dead Man, though beautifully shot, I found a little harder to love due to its length and slower pace.
I went on to watch two more films by Jarmusch, both of which I had heard of of but not yet seen, and ended up loving them both. Broken Flowers (2005) starring Bill Murray was a funny and touching film about a rather jaded mans journey to find his son. I loved how it didn’t really go anywhere, as opposed to having a predictable Hollywood happy ending. Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) was also a blast to watch, he cast cool actors, and musicians all of which I am a big fan of to star in his collage of vignettes depicting random coffee shop small talk. The episode with Bill Murray and RZA was hilarious, as was the awkward discussion between Tom Waits and Iggy Pop. Jarmusch is clearly well connected in the world of music, and I greatly respect his taste in artists.
Jim Jarmusch was born in 1953 in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from Colombia University with a degree in English, and went on to study at the Tisch School of Arts (imdb). His first film Permanent Vacation (1980) received much recognition at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival. Jarmusch has a very interesting directorial background. He is a true independent in the respect that he didn’t make a single studio movie until 2005, over two decades after he first entered the business. His work is characterized by rich character development and authentic dialogue. Many of his films are centered around traveling or a journey. Jarmusch is also known for using a stationary camera and “deadpan” shots. He was once quoted as saying “Life has no plot, why must films or fiction?”. After getting to know his work, I believe that one simple phrase best captures the essence of his films.
I am so glad to have finally discovered Jim Jarmusch as a director, I will definitely make it a point to see all of his future work, as well as familiarize myself with more of his past films. Thanks for the recommendation Dr. Andersen!
Tags: Anastassia Smordinskaya