Favorite Jim Jarmusch moments (The Limits of Control screens Thursday 4/30 with filmmaker Q & A!)
Set in the striking and varied landscapes of contemporary Spain (both urban and otherwise), shot by acclaimed cinematography Christopher Doyle, and featuring music by cult Japanese psychedelic metal band Boris, Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control is the story of a mysterious loner (played by Isaach De Bankolé) whose activities remain meticulously outside the law. And it’s screening Thursday, April 30 at the Film Society, with an onstage Q & A with the filmmaker and party afterward!
In honor of this highly anticipated new film, we reached out to a Jim Jarmusch expert to take us through some of his more notable cinematic moments. We found Brynn White, a Film Comment contributor and Film Forum repertory programming assistant. Below are her picks and commentary.
STRANGER THAN PARADISE
BW: A visiting Hungarian gets a taste of ”America” (and its TV dinners) from the confines of her hangdog cousin’s Lower East Side apartment in Jarmusch’s revolutionary evocation of the profoundly mundane. The formalist camera remains as consistently heavy-lidded and immobile as its central trio of deadpan hipster-vaudevillians.
DOWN BY LAW
BW: A bayou-set jailbreak fable… but the bona fide liberation occurs early on as cellmates John Lurie and Tom Waits abandon their scowlful posturing and ego-bumping when anachronistic clown Roberto Benigni makes a rapturous selection from his ledger of American pop culture discoveries.
BW: Johnny Depp rides the purgatory rails to the end of the line in Jarmusch’s sublime Western fever dream. Neil Young’s abrasive rhapsodies punctuate an exposition so simultaneously unsettling and gleeful that Crispin Glover seems a natural byproduct.
COFFEE & CIGARETTES
BW: The adroit capstone of Jarmusch’s mix tape paean to the last great tabletop democracy: former Warhol-superstar Taylor Mead, a sort of Noel Coward of the New York underground, whimsically ruminates on life in its twilight stage.
ADDED BONUS: afro and denim vest-clad Lou Reed extemporizes on NYC and nicotine, while Jarmusch drolly ponders his priorities regarding sex & cigarettes and celluloid Nazis’ smoking techniques in Paul Auster and Wayne Wang’s Blue in the Face.
You can read more of Brynn White’s writing at Stop Smiling.
An evening with Jim Jarmusch and screening of The Limits of Control is a co-presentation of Young Friends of Film and Film Comment Selects. Admission includes the screening, a Q & A and party with open bar afterward. You can buy tickets here.