Thursday, April 12, 2018

Jim Jarmusch: 'Stranger Than Paradise' (1984)

Jim Jarmusch: Stranger Than Paradise (1984) -- same year as the Coen Brothers' first movie, Blood Simple.

Stranger Than Paradise, made on a shoestring budget, is all verve and imagination, a lovely film. 

There are really only four substantive characters in it, all related by Hungarian blood or American friendship: Willie (John Lurie), his cousin Eva (Eszter Balint), their aunt Lotte (Cecillia Stark) and Willie's pal Eddie (Richard Edson). And one key song: "You Put a Spell on Me" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins. All but Aunt Lotte are in movement -- New York City, Cleveland, Florida. Jarmusch employs fades between scenes, and it's shot entirely in black and white film -- elements that one will not forget. 
Stranger Than Paradise may very well be the "freshest" of all of Jim Jarmusch's films, though Gimme Danger (2016), his recent documentary on Iggy and the Stooges, is "fresh" in its own way. 

Can you dig? I love seeing such perspectives on things, what Russian theorist Viktor Shklovsky (1893-1984) dubbed --  -- one hundred and one years ago -- defamilarization. Seeing ordinary seeming people and things anew, those and that which we've become "used to" -- or tired of -- with "refreshed eyes" -- and a renewed magical sense of possibility.   

Today's Rune: Strength. 

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