• Episodic but interconnected-  Jarmusch, the formal master, repeats the same set up (five conversations between strangers in taxis at night). This is, of course, is linked to his previous work which all employ a three-part story structure (aside from Permanent Vacation) along with Murray chasing down the separate ladies in Broken Flowers, the days of the week in Paterson, and the multiple encounters over stimulants in Coffee and Cigarettes
  • Waits does the music here- very urban
  • 5 conversations- the camera moves in on a clock on the wall and then we go to the map, It’s not a gorgeous formal cue like say the work of WKW but it’s rigorous
a meticulous formal structure
  • Meditation on language barrier again- We’re in Rome, LA, NYC, Paris and Helsinki—Jarmusch is saying this is universal—reminds me of the “what the hell are we going to do in Budapest?” ironic comment in Strangers in Paradise
  • These could be standalone shorts- but I think they’d be weak. The main reason this is a strong work of art is the structure and how the 5 work as a whole
  • After the clocks, and the map we go into the various cities all at night via city montage establishing shots like Ozu’s pillow shots
  • LA—Winona Ryder struggles- I think the Rowlands is a nod to Cassavetes—many call Jarmusch the first American Indie but it has to be Cassavetes
  • NYC- pillow shot montage again- Graffiti- a Jarmuscian trademark. Giancarlo Esposito – Brooklyn, Rosie Perez (hello Spike Lee Do the Right Thing). The great same hat joke with Armin Mueller-Stahl
urban decay art from Jarmusch- graffiti in all his work
  • Ebert calls Jarmusch a “poet of the night” (this is in 1991 and of course Ebert died before Jarmusch did a film called Paterson about a poet in 2016)… Camby says “a master of comedy of the oblique” and Travers calls “A true visionary”
  • These car-bound dramas are before Kiarostomi and Panahi
  • Paris is stunning- the best one- the train pillow shot (entirely Ozu) the clocks- striking photography, alley and street signs-
  • The purple lighting in the back of the cab of Isaach De Bankolé is really well done—
strong neon work here for the Paris middle section
  • Roberto Benigni is a lot to take- unhinged, but he says a rough annoying start with his hilarious pumpkin and sheep stories—
  • Helsinki is the finish- strong
  • The symmetry—repetition– makes it so hypnotic
  • The casting is an homage in of itself I believe with Rowlands as Cassavetes, Spike Lee in the Brooklyn one, Isaach De Bankolé a nod to Claire Denis? We have Helsinki with Aki Kaurismaki? – casting of Matti Pellonpää (and a drunk character named “Aki”)
  • HR