Última actualización: 23. febrero 2022

Hello, there! Welcome back to our weekly meeting! It is our pleasure to have you reading NewsletterName. In our previous edition, we talked about a funny and frenetic humorist, but today we have a calmer and more reflective mood.

This week’s recommendation is based on literature. No, we are not talking about juvenile book adaptations. There are so many other ways in which literature can find its way into a film. The poetry among the daily tasks, as a mean to see life and as a path to artistic creation; this is the pivot of the film we’ll talk about here.

Paterson (Jim Jarmush, 2016)

This endlessly cute film is all about poetry.

It is a very simple storyline about Paterson, a bus driver and secret poet played by Adam Driver, and his daily life: a routine without any big events, but with many little and important things happening. One of the sweetest things this film has to offer is the calm nature of the protagonist, a man capable of turning small details into huge metaphors that he uses for his poems. Remember this when you see it and hear the Love Poem Paterson wrote, it is the perfect illustration for this.

Yes, you read correctly. When you see this film, you will hear poems read by Adam Driver himself. Not written by him, but written specially for the film, some of them poet by Ron Padgett.

If you are anything like us, by the end of the film you will want to read the poems yourself. To make the job easier, here’s a list of the titles:

  • Love Poem
  • Another One
  • Glow
  • Water falls
  • The Run

Jim Jarmush’s style it’s characterized by an unadorned narration in which he plans a great staging and carves his actors into his characters. Under his direction, it is admirable the way Driver, a man of high stature that doesn’t go unnoticed, took his character with his big hands and was able to give us a delicate and believable performance of a simple driver/writer.

Also, the complementary characters add complexity to the story and make it more interesting, since each one is the representation of different realities and interactions that surround us all. For example, Laura, Paterson’s sweet and almost ethereal wife, played by Golshifteh Farahani, is a metaphor for people that does everything perfectly and in such a cute way that you can’t even hate them for being so perfect. They are exasperating, and you still like them, that’s how we feel about Laura.

Another fascinating thing in Paterson are those surreal-like situations that have no context, like the twins “popping-up” unexpected everywhere in the film. This is very common in Jarmush’s movies, and it is also a very poetic resort, not so surreal, as much as it seems. Why not surreal?

  • Surrealism does not intent to give a meaning to the inexplicable events, surrealism just lets it all happens because surrealist are after automatic creation.
  • On the contrary, poetry looks for metaphors in the tangible life to tell about the inner life. It does not matter if the situation makes sense in the tangible world, in the metaphor that was created, it makes perfect sense.

Jim Jarmush it is not trying to achieve automatic creation. Every situation or detail in his movies, even those who really doesn’t seem to make sense, are actually a metaphor used to enforce his story. And to use a metaphor to underline what you want to say instead of saying it is the labour of the poet.

Added to this, the cinematography, soundtrack and art direction are all designed to become pedestals in which the characters stand and speak. This is not literal, of course. What we mean is that, in this film, these three important areas aren’t taking any protagonism from the poems and the characters. Every detail it is though so the characters have the perfect scenario to develop.

If you enjoy of subtle movies and subtle narratives, and you haven’t watched Paterson, you are wasting your time. It is available on Mubi and Prime Video.

Thanks a lot for sticking with us, even through poetry! We hope you enjoy this week recommendation and see you on our next edition.

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