Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Two by Jim Jarmusch: Dead Man (1995) and Ghost Dog: the Way of the Samurai (1999)

I basically have to defer to Rosenbaum’s reviews of these two Jarmusch masterpieces; he not only delves into each film’s respective strengths, but also describes what makes them kindred spirits of sorts. Dead Man is possibly everything I love about cinema; zero unnecessary plot elements, poetic storytelling, beautifully stark nature photography, and an undercurrent of enigmatic spirituality bubbling beneath the surface of it all, like a Tarkovsky film with a more concrete literary and historical basis. Ghost Dog is a more mainstream effort, but it presents such a grandiose overview of a world full of fascinating multicultural intersections and overlaps. My generally pessimistic friend, upon seeing it, told me that he was excited by its view of America as harboring such radical possibilities for cultural fusion. Binding the two films are the themes of cultural transgressions, extinction, repeating scene transitions serving as unifying punctuation, and poetry as a basis for a character’s actions.

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