8 December 2016

Paterson

Adam Driver as Paterson
No police sirens in "Paterson". No guns blazing or inspired detectives spotting murder clues. Nobody from the glitterati, no fast cars screeching round corners. No. This is a quiet and beautifully crafted film about ordinary lives. Not much happens in it and yet I found it curiously engaging.

Jim Jamusch directed it, lovingly and meticulously, and he recently said this of "Paterson"; “Life isn’t dramatic, always. This is about the day-to-day. It was less intentionally an antidote to all this action, violence, abuse of women, conflict between people, but I’m sure that’s part of it. We need other kinds of films. With my films, my hope is that you don’t care too much about the plot. I’m trying to find a Zen way where you are just there each moment and you’re not thinking too much about what’s going to happen next.”
Golshifteh Farahani as Laura
In "Paterson", twins appear on several random occasions without comment. They are just there, part of the town's scenery. The central character is a bus driver co-incidentally called Paterson like the New Jersey town that provides the film's setting. Every day he gets up early leaving his wife Laura dreaming in bed, except on Saturday when she is up early, manically decorating cupcakes to sell at the local farmers' market. She has various dreams of fame and fortune and artistic leanings that are always black and white in colour. Perhaps she is a little crazy but she loves Paterson all the same.

In four or five brief moments, the camera focuses on a framed  photograph of Paterson in a previous life - in his US Marines uniform but no mention is made of that experience or how it might have affected him. It is just there - slightly tantalising but deliberately untapped Then there's the pet bulldog, Marvin. When left in the house one evening he chews up Paterson's notebook of poems. The lines often came to him while bus driving and making poetry was obviously his biggest aspiration in a town that was once home to the great American poet William Carlos Williams.

There is humour in "Paterson" and there is a sense of how life trundles on for most of us - unexceptional, undramatic and ordinary. Jamusch was right - we do need other kinds of films and for me, "Paterson" was a sweet and rather lovely film - at times melancholic and meaningless. By the end you feel you have got to know both of the Patersons quite intimately - the east coast town and the bus driver.who traverses it.
Marvin the English bulldog in "Paterson"

22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Good to hear from you again Terry! Why has your blog gone down?

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  2. Because I took it down.

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  3. It's good to see a movie like this for a change...there is enough violence and mayhem in the world every day...enough is enough already!!

    I watched a "nice little movie" the other night. I'd recorded it...it's a 2011 movie starring Michelle Williams, Luke Kirby and Seth Rogen...called "Take This Waltz". Rogen didn't play a comedic role in the movie. I liked it...

    My late brother used to tease me every time I described a movie as being "a nice little movie"...but that's the only way to describe some...those that aren't over-blown, over-promoted blockbusters, but yet are good movies.

    Thanks, Yorkie for pointing me towards "Paterson".

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    1. ...and it was indeed "a nice little movie".

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  4. Films that are off the normal are well worth watching. they can make us think in a different direction.

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    1. I agree. In a gentle, non-flashy way, this film was nicely surprising.

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  5. This sounds like a film worth seeing. I hope it comes our way.

    Alphie

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    1. It won't be a blockbuster because its quiet, quirky character would not do for most cinema goers who want tried and tested recipes.

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  6. Sounds like my kind of film.

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    1. Gentle and perfectly formed - just like you Sue!

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  7. Like Lee says, there is enough violence in the world for real; I don't feel entertained by watching it in a film. But this kind of film sounds as if it is one I would like. In blogland, I enjoy reading about my fellow bloggers' ordinary lives, and a film about a couple's ordinary life sounds a bit like that.

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    1. Although you see the couple in bed every morning, there is no gratuitous sex. The director says he is very uncomfortable with shooting sex scenes and usually finds them unnecessary.

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  8. I'd like to see it!
    I often read blog film reviews but because the blog I read are all from other countries, the films are often not out here and then i forget what I wanted to see. A list would solve the problem

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    1. You may need to hire a secretary Kylie - someone who can keep your future plans in order.

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  9. My kind of film I think. Adam Driver is very good and I read that as he had been a marine before acting that photo you mention is a real one of him in uniform.

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    1. That's an interesting side point you have added Libby. Thank you.

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  10. I am on a film roll at the moment.. Heard good things of this one

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    1. Marvin the bulldog had quite a significant role. Made me think of Winnie's role in "Trelawynd: Village of the Damned"

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  11. I know personally a member of the faculty of William Paterson University which, oddly enough, is not in Paterson, New Jersey, but in the nearby town of Wayne. It's interesting that you mentioned William Carlos Williams. Did the film include a scene with a note on the refrigerator about how juicy and cold the plums tasted? Or one with a red wheelbarrow and some white chickens?

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    1. "This Is Just to Say" was certainly recited in the film and in the bar I noticed a business card belonging to Williams who was a physician as well as a poet... but I guess you already knew that.

      I have eaten
      the plums
      that were in
      the icebox

      and which
      you were probably
      saving
      for breakfast

      Forgive me
      they were delicious
      so sweet
      and so cold

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