Friday, August 20, 2010

Stranger Than Paradise

Stranger Than Paradise; Drama, USA/ Germany, 1984; D: Jim Jarmusch, S: John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson

New York. Willie is bored in his apartment but then gets a phone call from his aunt who notifies him that he will get a visit from his cousin Eva from Budapest. Eva shows up and takes her in his apartment for 10 days, even though he has no will for it. She buys him a present and he begins to like her and meet her with friend Eddie. She leaves. A year later, Willie and Eddie hire a car and leave to Cleveland to visit Eva. She is happy to see them again and invites them to the cinema. The trio leaves for Florida with their car. There Willie and Eddie lose the money on bets so Eva

The second film by Jim Jarmusch, filmed in co-production with German channel ZDF, is another demanding social drama, "Stranger Than Paradise", an uninteresting and banally simple art-film. There is not much to recommend here since nothing is going on in the story - Willie gets a visit from his cousin, she leaves, he visits her with his friend, the trio leaves for Florida - almost as if the whole film talks about the absurdity of the nothingness of life, thus leaving the relationships and observations underused. Loosely, it symbolically speaks about the immigrant experience in America, and the attempts and struggles for an immigrant to immerse himself/herself in American culture, establishing the classic Jarmusch road movie and minimalistic Ozu style of storytelling at it. There are a few funny scenes here, like the dialogue between Eva and Willie: "Some Courguy phoned you." - "I don't know no Courguny! Don't answer the telephone!" or during card playing: "Every time Willie deals the cards, Willie wins!" Yet the rest is too conventional.


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