• Hypnotic masterpiece – Jarmusch’s greatest achievement
  • Goes back to black and white photography after two consecutive color films- he’s 3/3 even through 6 films at the time of Dead Man
  • This is his first narrative structure since Permanent Vacation that isn’t broken into distinct sections by region—in Stranger it’s NJ/Cleveland/Florida, then Down by Law it’s New Orleans/prison/escape and of course the 5 separate cities in Night on Earth
  • Easily his most beautiful film visually from a photographic standpoint
  • The final film performance by Robert Mitchum (couple of great funny scenes)
  • Name “William Blake”- and the poetry is referenced throughout – again Ebert called Jarmusch a poet—Paterson would be about an everyman poet
  • Robby Muller is the DP again- stunning work- this is at the level Kings of the Road which is Wenders most beautiful film
  • Neil Young’s achievement here with the music is incalculable—again we have a nod at Wim Wenders (clearly an influence on Jarmusch) with the Ry Cooder score for Paris, Texas– minimal, haunting work by Young
  • journey film— but literal, existential, spiritually—Apocalypse Now, Pierrot le Fou from Godard
  • Again with Jarmusch the editing is crucial—he fades to black between each scene like he does with Stranger in Paradise. It lulls you in—you pair it with the evocative photography and the repetitious and radiant score—you feel the dream state Jarmusch is going for in tone. Depp is constantly fading in and out of consciousness (whether he’s sleeping or passes out, etc). We’ve taken off by the end of the film
  • Definitely feeds like a nod to Buster Keaton with Depp’s deadpan— Depp’s performance here is pivotal as well- he underplays it perfectly- he lets all the loud noises come from around him – whether it’s “Nobody”, Mitchum, bickering headhunters-
one of Depp’s greatest achievements here- underplaying deadpan comedic brilliance
  • the deadpan humor from Jarmusch—but not winking disparagement
  • A fish out of water comedy- Depp’s Blake is an easterner who is in the west- – the fantastic short film train opening. Very elliptical- he sleeps and wakes up seeing the passengers and window landscape scenery get more and more wild/western. Jarmusch cuts back and forth to the train itself (exterior) – this editing is Ozu- the trains- Ozu—the first word is 6 minutes in by Crispin Glover
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begins by intertwining the exterior of the trains (hello Ozu) with shot below and fading to black each time
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6 minute silent opening Blake’s surroundings change
remarkable work here in the photography
  • Cleveland again- Blake’s character’s home town
  • I think Jarmusch shows the run-down street (Jarmusch is a modern day urban filmmaker up until now) with art on the wall (equivalent to his beloved graffiti), trash, oral in the alley, to make a statement on the universality (or timelessness) of it all
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the historical equivalent of Jarmusch’s graffiti? trash art as high art
  • The tobacco repetition in the text—feels like the Coen brothers
  • There are many indications (both text and subtext) that he’s dead—shot in the heart, Nobody sees him as a skeleton
  • Again that elliptic editing huge
  • Sea of white trees photography—immaculate — another section later of the forest
jaw-dropper art on the wall shot
  • A simple narrative propulsion and a series of unfortunate events
  • Guys chasing him at one point named “Lee” and “Marvin”—gorgeous shot of one of them dead surrounded by the campfire
another one to put in an art museum here
  • The fawn photograph— the Native Americans are the heroes, their spiritual village at the end (with graffiti) and they send him on his journey. His friend “Nobody”—the white people are shown shooting at buffalos
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  • Depp’s Blake becomes a western legend like Shane—shot and rides off—badass ending with the light coming though and the dissolve edit
a beam of light coming at at the haunting finale
  • A Masterpiece