Saturday, January 21, 2017


Adam Driver (Paterson), Golshifteh Farahani (Laura).

Paterson / Paterson. US/FR/DE © 2016 Inkjet Productions. PC: Amazon Studios / Animal Kingdom / Inkjet Productions / K5 Film / Le Pacte. P: Joshua Astrachan, Carter Logan. D+SC: Jim Jarmusch. DP: Frederick Elmes – digital – Arri Alexa Mini, Arri Alexa Studio – SxS Pro – ProRes 4:4:4 (2K) – DI (2K): Harbor Picture Company – colour – 1,85:1 – release format: D-Cinema. PD: Mark Friedberg. Set dec: Lydia Marks. Cost: Catherine George. Makeup: Marjorie Durand. Hair: Jennifer Serio Stauffer. M: Jim Jarmusch, Carter Logan, Sqürl. S: Robert Hein. ED: Affonso Gonçalves. Casting: Ellen Lewis, Meghan Rafferty.
    The poems written by: Ron Padgett. The little girl Marie's poem written by: Jim Jarmusch. A poem by William Carlos Williams: "This Is Just To Say" (1934).
   C: Adam Driver (Paterson), Golshifteh Farahani (Laura), Rizwan Manji (Donny), Barry Shabaka Henley (Doc), William Jackson Harper (Everett), Chasten Harmon (Marie), Rizwan Manji (Donny), Masatoshi Nagase (Japanese poet), Kara Hayward (female anarchist student), Jared Gilman (male anarchist student), Method Man (Method Man), Sterling Jerins (young poet).
    Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman are the stars of Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom.
    Dog: Nellie the bulldog as Marvin.
    Loc: Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey, including the Great Falls Historic District with the Great Falls of the Passaic River.
    118 min
    Helsinki premiere: 20 Jan 2017.
    2K DCP released by Finnkino (Scanbox) with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Tarja Sahlstén / Nina Ekholm, viewed at Kinopalatsi 2, Helsinki, 21 Jan 2017.

Official synopsis (Festival de Cannes, 2016): "Paterson is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey – they share the name."

"Every day, Paterson adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, observing the city as it drifts across his windshield and overhearing fragments of conversation swirling around him; he writes poetry into a notebook; he walks his dog; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer; he goes home to his wife, Laura. By contrast, Laura´s world is ever changing. New dreams come to her almost daily."

"Paterson loves Laura and she loves him. He supports her newfound ambitions; she champions his gift for poetry."

"The film quietly observes the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.

Director’s Statement

"Paterson is a quiet story, its central characters without any real dramatic conflict. Its structure is simple, following just seven days in the lives of its subjects. Paterson is intended as a celebration of the poetry of details, variations and daily interactions and a kind of antidote to dark, heavily dramatic or action-oriented cinema. It’s a film one should just allow to float past them—like images seen from the window of a public bus, moving like a mechanical gondola through a small, forgotten city."

—Jim Jarmusch

AA: Jim Jarmusch is at his best in Paterson.

We who have followed him affectionately since Permanent Vacation and Stranger Than Paradise recognize his spirit alive here, but there are subtle changes.

The most interesting one is a growth in serenity. A peculiar sense of humour is a Jarmusch hallmark; now it feels even deeper; there is a sense of a smile everywhere.

In many films of Jim Jarmusch, a basic concern has been about being hip, being cool. Jarmusch has always spoofed it, satirized it, and parodied it, but it has been a key obsession. He has played variations of it in contexts such as the Western, the Samurai code, the Melvillean hitman, and the Vampire.

Now Jarmusch casts aside genre trappings and hip and cool concerns. He does not need these supports now.

In the ordinary he sees the extraordinary. That is a definition of art and poetry, and Paterson is a film devoted to poetry. William Carlos Williams is a guiding spirit. Mr. Paterson the bus driver is a poet, and he is drawn like by magnetism to others that turn out to be poets, as well.

Adam Driver is in demand in big budget films but projects a subtle inner force in a laid back performance here. Golshifteh Farahani has a distinguished career in Iranian and Western films, and her presence is itself poetic, leading thoughts to Iran as a land of poetry.

The spirit of the place is strong in Paterson. Name-dropping references from William Carlos Williams to Lou Costello are a running joke in the movie. A cinephile remembers the area as a location of one of the very first movies, Edison's Passaic Falls, New Jersey (1896). Thanks to those falls, the area became also a center of big textile industry, also a location for the famous documentary The Passaic Textile Strike (1926).

The cinematography by Frederick Elmes is exquisite. Having started with David Lynch in Eraserhead (he also shot Blue Velvet) this is his fourth movie for Jarmusch. The colour concept: the autumn colours of New Jersey. There is a refined, unobtrusive intensity in the photography. The composition, the light, and the colour are expressive, fitting for a film that is about seeing, not just looking.

Quaint little visual twists include a recurrent visual effect of the hands of a watch moving in time lapse photography and another recurrent device, a threefold superimposition where we see Paterson writing his poems.

Further remarks: – Favourite objects include Ohio Blue Tip matchboxes, the lunchbox every morning lovingly customized by Laura, Paterson's "silent magic watch" that wakes him up without an alarm sound, and Doc's games of chess at the bar where Paterson is a regular. – Laura is a design artist specializing in black and white, some patterns of whose have an affinity with Marimekko. – Laura becomes "the cupcake queen of Paterson". – Having earned well with her cupcakes at the farmer's market she treats Paterson to a dinner and a movie: Island of Lost Souls in a repertory cinema. – In one day, thanks to dvd lessons, she learns to play to the guitar the folk song "I've Been Working on the Railroad" (1894). She wants to become a country & western star and designs for herself "a harlequin guitar".

Poet references include Allen Ginsberg, Emily Dickinson, and Petrarca's sonnets to Laura. When the couple's pet bulldog has eaten Paterson's notebook of poetry he gets depressed and states that poems are words written on water. Robert Frost's remark "poetry is what gets lost in translation" is not quoted in this film. Instead, a Japanese traveller remarks that poetry in translation is like taking a shower with a raincoat on. The Japanese gives Paterson a new notebook and states that "an empty page is full of possibilities".

There is a fairy-tale approach in the film that resembles Wes Anderson and the recent work of Aki Kaurismäki. There is also a structural similarity with La La Land which we saw a week ago. It is also about two protagonists who encourage each other to fulfill their greatest aspirations, to exceed their limitations.

All through the picture Paterson is writing a love poem. The film Paterson itself is a love poem.

The structure is based on daily repetition but this film is not a vision of monotony, alienation, or "quiet desperation". The episodic form, the vignette approach, is familiar in Jarmusch's films. The repetition of the seven days does not underline the sameness but the difference of each day. The episodes and vignettes are full of life. The passengers and passers-by in Paterson's life are memorable and worth remembering.

The seven days in Paterson the movie are seven stanzas of the love poem.

An appealing display of digital cinematography with warm and juicy colour and fine soft detail.

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