movie review · poetry · Uncategorized

Paterson (2016)


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Yesterday the first disc arrived from my renewed subscription to netflix discs. I found it through an Adam Driver search and chose it when I saw Jim Jarmusch directs and saw that it was about a poet who has a day job.  Who could resist this trifecta?

I watched Paterson last night.  Already being aware of Jarmusch style of conjuring a series of small human intersections that you will remember always*, Paterson did not disappoint.  Last night, as I fell asleep, I thought about not only Paterson but of the many Jarmusch films’ such moments.  They have been resting gently in my memory as if they were my own.  His is no small skill.

One of the things I love about it is that it’s low tech.  You won’t see TVs and very few electronic media devices.  Not only will you not see them, the characters are actively against them.  How refreshing!  Talking face to face with each other and using old fashioned pen and paper to record with works just fine — better than any text message ever could.

Another thing I love about it is that shows 3 different types of romantic relationships and some excellent human to human interactions where the humans are just ordinary and are not hiding any agendas.  The relationship of Paterson and his girlfriend/wife (not sure which) is difficult to describe in just a few words.  Both of them are extremely sensitive individuals. One of them is much more verbal than the other.  They are able to share intimacy as equal partners (intimacy not meant as sexual here).  It’s a beautiful and delicate arrangement.  The 2nd couple is more complicated but less detailed in the film.  The 3rd couple gives just a hint of what they share with each other.  The supporting cast is varied and rich.  Paterson is “out in the world” more than his significant other, and even though he’s a man of few words, he connects with many is small, but important ways.

Another is how low-key the plot is.  You won’t see any car chases, no dramatic plot twists, nothing to pump it up.  In the current climate of one crisis after another bombarding the amygdala with the world’s affairs, to observe a little corner of the world where things simply keep plodding along is like finding a canister of oxygen in outer space when you’re floating along and your tank is on empty.

Yet another is the general quirkiness of the film.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but for the lovers of minuetia, there is a delightful array of it sprinkled throughout.

The acting:  Adam Driver is *perfect* for this role.  He plays it flawlessly.  His SO Golshifteh Farahani is a bodhisatva to Paterson while actively creating a beautiful, magical world for herself.  This review would not be complete without mentioning the little canine critter who shares their home with them.  I forgot his name but when he’s in the scene it’s hard to keep your eyes off of him.

Finally …………. POETRY!  Poetry breathes life into Paterson.  He observes the world through the eyes of a poet, which means every image his eye captures is assessed and analyzed with an eye for poem fodder.  Like Jarmusch himself, Paterson finds jewels in every aspect of this experience called life.  Life is poetry.

*films by Jim Jarmusch I’ve seen:

  • Broken Flowers
  • Coffee and Cigarettes
  • Ghost Dog
  • Dead Man
  • Night on Earth
  • Mystery Train
  • Stranger Than Paradise
  • Down By Law

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