Thursday, 24 November 2016


Hot on the heels of a great word of mouth throughout the festival circuit this year, Jim Jarmusch's most accessible film in ages appears in the UK release by Soda Pictures on Friday 25th November.

Paterson stars Adam Driver as the eponymous main protagonist who lives in a city of the same name in New Jersey. Paterson is a bus driver who lives with his girlfriend, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) and their English bulldog, Marvin.

Paterson is a city rich in cultural history of America, it is where Lou Costello (of Abbott and Costello lore) was born and their are near neighbours such as Iggy Pop (long time friend of Jarmusch) and renowned poets William Carlos Williams. Paterson, himself, is a would be poet and on his bus journeys throughout the day he listens to passengers and during his lunch break he sits at the famous Passaic Falls.

Using a trope familiar from those who have seen Amy (Asif Kapadia), we see what Paterson writes as he puts it to page. The use of Driver's bass voiceover is effectively used as he recites it as if he is reading, when it is fully formed we hear a more confident rendition.  The poems featured are by real-life Ron Padgett, who swam in circles along with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.

Paterson is a unique soul in a small city - he is observant taking in the landscape as he walks from the bus factory to home, as many creative souls he listens to what is around him and not afraid to have conversations. Paterson does not have a mobile phone, he feels it is would be a leash and a burden on his creative freedom.

Critics may well say that Paterson yearns for a by-gone era of creativity, however, Jarmusch is making a comment on the power of individuality and freedom. Paterson was in the army so he has spent a portion of his adult life being ordered what to do, wanting that freedom to do what he wants to do is supported by his girlfriend, Laura.

Laura, herself, is a creative soul one who wants to be a country singer, can cook amazing cupcakes and has an eye for interior design.  Their relationship is one of immense support and companionship, they praise each other and are there for each other.  Critics again, might point at Laura as a manifestation of the post WW2 perfect housewife - cooks, house proud, domestic - which is not exactly an advancement of feminism in this the 21st century.

Yet perhaps in this difficult time in the country's history with a tumultuous political landscape and race relations; Jarmusch has created a film that is part time capsule and can show America how life can be without the advancement of technology, Paterson (the city) itself seems a bit out of time or frozen with the necessity of bus travel, black and white cinema and a bar without television; yet there is an idealised depiction of community with comfortable race relations, something for America to currently aspire to itself, and that something marvellous can grow out of the unlikeliest environments.

Whilst the film is a meditation piece it nevertheless does hold your attention and features from Driver, a quite charming and soulful performance of an individual with a burning desire to write and be loved whilst given equal love in return.

Paterson is in selected cinemas from Soda Pictures on Friday 25th November.

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