Here’s a ready made New Years Resolution. See Jim Jarmusch’s new film, PATERSON.
Set in Paterson, New Jersey, the film is about a local bus driver called Paterson, and chronicles both the routine and the surprises that make up seven days of his life.
Paterson lives with Laura, whom he adores, cuddling and caressing her crannies as he nestles her nooks on waking, come work day or weekend.
On the first morning, she wakes too, telling him of a dream in which they were the proud parents of twins. Preternaturally, Paterson encounters twins throughout the day, and the days thereafter.
As he goes about his daily routine, cereal breakfast, serial walk to work, routine bus route, habitual evening dog walk incorporating a beer at a bar, Paterson is attuned to his environment, people and place, and the subtle nuances that bear on the pattern of his life.
Paterson is a poet, and like his literary hero, William Carlos Williams, famous for his epic poem, Paterson, is a continuous scribbler, an observer of the ordinary and extraordinary, revealer of the secret and sacred presence of being.
Jarmush’s script is heavily influenced by Williams’ poem in both narrative tone and pictorial choices.
Paterson’s waterfall, for instance, not only serves as a location but as a pivot for artistic expression, a compass point for the emotional landscape of the film, a divined destination for like minded souls as diverse as a school girl and a visiting Japanese poet.
The entire film beats like a healthy heart with a regular pulse, every now and then raised by the excitement of the unexpected. And like the symbolic heart, it is a film full of love, of companionship, courtesy, compassion and care.
At it’s heart, the film’s focus is the love between Paterson and Laura, a couple who compliment each other, both literally and figuratively. He is always complimenting her on her cooking, even when it is a dubious concoction, she is complimentary of his writings and urges him to make copies of his secret book and share his poems with the world.
Adam Driver plays Paterson with a soft, slow poise that is palpably pacifist, a pursuit probably emanating from his experience in the armed forces, service subtly alluded to by a photograph on his bedside table.
As Laura, Golshifte Farahani is an effervescent muse who deftly keeps the bubbles sparkling in a role that could easily turn to enervating. Her annoying pet talk becomes endearing and there’s no denying her undying devotion to Paterson and a shared passion for creativity and harmony.
Special mention must go to the captivating canine performance by Nellie playing the couple’s conflict rife bulldog, Marvin. The pooch from Red Dog isn’t a patch on this pup.
Cinematographer Frederick Elmes, marking his fourth feature film collaboration with Jarmusch after Broken Flowers, Coffee & Cigarettes and Night on Earth, shapes shadows and fluid reflections, crafting the beautiful from the banal.
The score by Only Lovers Left Alive composers, Squrl, provides a perfect aural atmosphere.
Twins, shadows, deja vu, serendipity, synchronicity, and a keenly calibrated sense of the ridiculous, PATERSON is a bona fide gem.
This sublimely simple film has a rich surface and an even richer depth, the minutiae morphing into the monumental, a slow down and smell the roses aesthetic that is funny, philosophically optimistic and fundamentally human.
I can’t wait to see it again.