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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can a Dead Man send Broken Flowers to Strangers in Paradise?

The 80's. Worst decade for clothes, hair and cars. Fairly interesting decade for music and books. Magnificent decade for independent films in which nothing happens except life. The onset of true independence with singular characters shifting through a torrent of coming to age discoveries entering the ME decade. No more of your mother's flashbacks or your grandfather's grand narratives. Simple, momentary sections of life in the postmodern era with technology glaring into your soul."Stranger than Paradise" (1984)  is officially Jim Jarmusch's first film - it culminates and captures his style both in dialogue and film technique. A gritty example of the 80's need to move beyond its me-ness and into self and societal discovery. Just as Wren ("Smithereens, 1982) exhibits the altering of the female perspective - Willi and Eddie take on and twist the ideals of male roles and expectation. Jarmusch continues this road style film making in an obvious attempt to find answers to 80's questions. There are no long grand narratives, but small pieces and segments that can't find the question much less the answer. 

"Dead Man" (1995) - Yes, you may want to run out to rent this because Johnny Depp is hott- but really watch it. In a quiet room, turn off the phone, lock the door and pay attention. Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Jared Harris and Robert Mitchum don't act, don't memorize words, don't enter and exit a frame. Nothing happens.

"Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai" (1999) - Forest Whitaker glimmers - way more interestingly than new age vampires. 

"Limits of Control" (2009) - This was one of  those lone box rentals that always beg to be watched (yes, they chant Pick me, PICK ME). It wasn't until half way through with the 'lone man' in the plaza waiting that it dawned to check "Who made this?" and....well...Its slower and more lacking in 'stuff' than even Jim Jarmusch is famous for, but it still intrigues and tugs at your brain. 

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