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Paterson

Directed by Jim Jarmusch

USA, 2016

HOME, 28 December 2016

Paterson

There are a fair number of twins in Jim Jarmusch’s film – an embarrassment of twins, in fact.

It is a film about a bus driver called Paterson who drives a bus in Paterson, New Jersey, the town where William Carlos Williams lived and Allen Ginsberg grew up. Literary allusions abound, whether it be to the aforementioned couple or Emily Dickenson and Frank O’Hara or Melville and Robert Walser. We see a copy of The Walk, probably because Paterson regularly takes his dog Marvin for a walk to the local bar. No copy of The Bus Conductor Hines, though: maybe Jarmusch hasn’t read it. Mind, bus conductors are long gone now.

The keynote struck sounds a little like this: the everyday, the quotidian, is a source of poetry (true enough, but not exclusively so). Adam Driver, the actor who plays Paterson, has one of those American faces that you tend to trust. Think Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck – a face like theirs.

To be frank, it’s a film that was sometimes a bit too quirky for my liking (consider, as an instance, the flighty wife with a penchant for monochrome). But there’s a lot of world in it, a lot of life and humanity. And it doesn’t have its head up its arse, a pose that art films are sometimes wont to assume. I was surprised to realise at the end that I had enjoyed it quite as much as I did.

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