113 Great Directors: Jim Jarmusch

“I consider myself a dilettante in a positive way, and I always have. That affects my sense of filmmaking.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Body of work.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: N/A.

What Did I Watch: The Limits of Control and Only Lovers Left Alive.

Where Does He Fit: Limits of Control owes a hell of a lot of debt to Melville’s Le Samourai, but it also reverses it. It’s too colorful to be like Melville’s precisely chrome compositions, and this time, we have a white love interest and a black hitman. Nothing in any other movie is as unearthly as the sight of Tilda Swinton in a blonde wig and trench coat walking through the sunny streets. Our hero does not speak Spanish, but some things don’t need to be communicated with language, and her postmodern conversation about old films sums up the whole ethos of Jarmusch’s projects.


Only Lovers Left Alive, meanwhile, is Jarmusch owning up to how much he has stolen in a small way. We fall into the funnel of love that is Tilda and some other guy, both living forever and stuck doing the same old hobbies that have become increasingly niche in their pursuits. Thank goodness for fabulous production design and a delirious sense of performance, stumbling around and making wry quips about how horrible art has become thanks to the pollution of the mainstream. Is it worth giving into? Does the metaphor fit so neatly with those final shots and drunken, philosophizing moods? You can smell the advancement from Limits of Control.


Most Valuable Asset: Punk rock.
Most Excited For: Dead Man.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: King Vidor, the original Hollywood hack.


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