I Do Movies Badly: Paterson

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4 Responses

  1. FictionIsntReal says:

    I think it’s inaccurate to call Jarmusch’s ouevre a “peaceful” fantasy. Both Dead Man & Mystery Train contain violence (while Ghost Dog & Limits of Control, the latter of which I haven’t seen, are about professional killers) and even Paterson contains the threat of violence which is very real to the title character, a military veteran.

    Laura is not learning Spanish guitar, she wants to be a country singer and is thus immersing herself in Americana (fittingly for a Jarmusch film).

    I was surprised when you said Paterson’s occupation was typical for an indie film. Blue collar jobs like that seem atypical. The only similar example which comes to my head is Hal Hartley’s “Henry Fool” which involves a mailmain influenced by the title character (who winds up taking the same job) into writing poetry.

    I don’t think the character of Paterson is necessarily supposed to represent the “old” vs “new” economy. As pointed out in the film, William Carlos Williams was a doctor when he wrote poetry around the turn of the century. Charles Ives ran an insurance company and only became better known as a composer years after his death. Phillip Glass drove a cab while he was composing most of his early music. A major theme of the film is that artistic expression is an option for everyone.

  2. Jim says:

    The Spanish guitar was a mistake on my part. I think I confused it because her guitar was coming from someone who had a name that sounded like it was of Hispanic origin and in the heat, my brain got scrambled.

    While Jarmusch’s oeuvre may not be an overall peaceful one, I believe that it is when specifically applied to Paterson. Between the contentment of a routine and the escape to nature at the falls amidst the urban environment, a sense of peace is absolutely pervasive throughout this film. The only time when there is a threat of violence is when Everett pulls the gun, which is a first shocking and seemingly a scene from another film, until it’s revealed to be a fake gun, bringing both the emotional and narrative context back into balance. Plus, I would also argue that even the inclusion of a violent act does not necessarily unmake a film peaceful.

    As to whether Paterson is “supposed to” represent one thing or another, well, that comes down to a point you and I have discussed in the past. That’s what he represented to me based on my experiences.

  3. FictionIsntReal says:

    Fair enough. Paterson is more peaceful than Jarmusch’s other films.

  4. FictionIsntReal says:

    I suppose I should amend even that, as Stranger Than Paradise isn’t violent either. But that plays up boredom & failure rather than fantasy.

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