Greenpoint, October, 2015

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stranger Than Jarmusch?

Tom Waits as Lee "Baby" Sims
Can't leave the festival without another nod to Jim Jarmusch, hands down our best contemporary road movie practitioner. From his first film, Stranger Than Paradise, which chronicled the losers' journey from Hoboken to Cleveland to Florida to Budapeszt, to Broken Flowers, which I've blogged about in this series, he has exploited and explored weird and wonderful variations of the genre.

There's Mystery Train, which conflates the stories of hipster Japanese tourists on a pilgrimage to Graceland, of a young Italian widow on her way home with her husband's body, with of a threesome of local losers getting themselves deeper and deeper into trouble. There's Night on Earth, short films about taxi rides in Rome, Helsinki, Rome, and LA. And then there's Down By Law, which offers the best example of the prison-break subgenre of the road movie. And yes, I am aware of Raising Arizona and O Brother, Where Are Thou? Great Coen Brothers films both but they can't touch Down By Law.

The opening sequence alone is a 2-minute masterpiece with Tom Wait's voice over Robbie Mueller's cinematography. Has there ever been a better film depiction of pre-Katrina New Orleans?

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