The quiet charm of Jim Jarmusch's Paterson, his latest movie, about a poet evoking the time and place of predecessor wordsmiths William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg, impresses with vitality, a life force. So much, that two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Actress, Sylvia Miles, quipped, she paid her academy dues just to nominate this work for a Best Picture Oscar: "It's the best film I've ever seen on a creative person." In a season of noisier films, will academy voters notice this gentle work of art?
Adam Driver stars. Paterson is ensconced in the workaday life of a bus driver in Paterson, picking up his vehicle at the depot, picking up passengers on his route. He enjoys a happy home life with Laura (Golshifteh Farahani obsessed with circles or maybe orbs, and his neighborhood bar where he ties up his dog outside and retreats for a nightly beer, his routines as regular as the movements of the planets. Even his most casual observations, visions realized onscreen in a clever scrawl, recast all in the language of the eternal.
The premiere party at the Jane Hotel with its posh yet old school feel came just as the cold snap of the holidays hit. Jarmusch was talking to documentarian Joe Berlinger about the anniversary screening of his Paradise Lost films. John Ventimiglia and Bob Gruen and his wife Elizabeth spoke about their projects in progress. Filmmaker Sara Driver, Jarmusch's partner, a longtime devotee of Paul and Jane Bowles, will finally see her Two Serious Ladies script made. Downtown, artists could relate to Paterson's quotidian.
Jarmusch had two films this year: Paterson and Gimme Danger, a documentary about Iggy Pop and the Stooges, both highlights of the 2016 New York Film Festival. Decades after his Stranger Than Paradise (1984) wowed audiences at New York's most decidedly uptown film venue, featuring the horse faced deadpan John Lurie and his unforgettable take on frozen tv dinners, Jarmusch still knows a thing or two about finding the miraculous in the mundane.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.