What Would Jarmusch Do?

coffee and cigarettes

What can I say, Jim Jarmusch is one cool deadpan American original. Influential and effortless. When Stranger Than Paradise, (1984) was released, it stood out stylistically among films of that time. He shot it in black and white, his musician friends as actors, long takes, sparse dialogue, cool wardrobe, and jazz soundtrack. In this time where everything is hyped up, from high grossing films to designer labels, Jarmusch’s sensibility of understated cool, intelligence and humor seems fresh. I wanna steal his style.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” – Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch

Stranger Than Paradise (1984) John Lurie (Lounge Lizards), Eszter Balint, and Richard Edson (Sonic Youth)

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, a cute paisley dress, and John Lurie looking like he wants to crack up at the end.

Down by Law (1986) “It’s not where you start – It’s where you start again.”  Three convicts, three stories, with Tom Waits, John Lurie, and Roberto Benigni

Poster of a recent screening of Coffee and Cigarettes, (2003) a collection of short vignettes of characters sitting around drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.

Life has no plot, why must films or fiction? – Jim Jarmusch




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