DIR/WRI: Jim Jarmusch • PRO: Joshua Astrachan, Carter Logan • DOP: Frederick Elmes • ED: Affonso Gonçalves • DES: Mark Friedberg • MUS: Carter Logan • CAST: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Helen-Jean Arthur
Following 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch’s latest addition to his oeuvre is Paterson, with Adam Driver starring as its titular protagonist. Paterson centres around Paterson, from Paterson, New Jersey, and his daily routine as a bus driver, boyfriend, and amateur poet. Paterson wakes up every day after 6am; walks to the bus station; writes poetry before his shift; returns home to his girlfriend; walks his dog to the local bar and stays for only one drink. This daily routine becomes the primary narrative of the film and how Paterson’s daily routine becomes interrupted by small, yet significant events, during the course of the film.
The film focuses on Paterson and his poetry, and the encouragement he receives from his enthusiastic girlfriend Laura, played by Golshifteh Farahani, to fully believe in and promote his poetic artistry. This poetic emphasis is also evident in the flow of Paterson’s two hour running time. Jarmusch follows a certain poetic rhyme and meter for the seven days of Paterson’s on-screen life. Gradually, the daily routines are impacted with an event that disturbs the titular character, but also the poetic meter of the film itself.
Jarmusch begins the film with Paterson waking Laura up and she reveals that she dreamt about the couple raising twins. Twins become a recurring feature throughout the film, as some sort of poetic couplet, but there are then examples of phrases or words said by Paterson or other characters that are then coincidentally repeated by another character in front of Paterson. Jarmusch also couples or twins characters throughout the film that immediately juxtapose the differences between the characters. In the case of Paterson and Laura, the former quietly goes about his poetry and daily routine, whereas Laura possesses a much louder personality and is proud of her artistry. Although, Laura does unfortunately delve into Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory encouraging Paterson to further pursue his poetry.
Each cast member is ideally-suited to this film, especially Adam Driver as Paterson, whose performance is subtle and nuanced, whereas Golshifteh Farahani gives a vibrant performance as the effervescent Laura. A special mention has to be given to Marvin the English bull terrier, who’s a scene-stealer, and becomes a pivotal factor in disrupting the rhythm and meter of Paterson’s routine. Nellie, who was Jim Jarmusch’s dog, excellently played Marvin, but sadly passed away shortly after filming.
Paterson’s cinematography is another positive aspect of the film, and was stunningly captured by Frederick Elmes, who has previously worked alongside visionaries such as David Lynch. Having captured the strange suburbia within Lynch’s Blue Velvet, Elmes assists in highlighting the poetic beauty Paterson from Paterson sees within his hometown, which permits Paterson to soak up inspiration from the town and its people for his own poetry.
Some cinemagoers may find Paterson slow and uneventful, but it’s the changing poetic meter within each of the seven days of Paterson’s life that forms the narrative of the film and which justifies its running time. Jim Jarmusch has created a truly poetic film about a promising poet. His cast delivers and it’s a stellar performance by Adam Driver as Paterson, the bus driver from Paterson. Although, Paterson is about much more.
15A (See IFCO for details)
Paterson is released 25th November 2016