Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

[The movie was part of the road movie special at the Filmmuseum.]

Stranger Than Paradise is a film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson and Cecillia Stark.

Willie (John Lurie) lives in New York and gets by on more or less legal endeavors together with his friends Eddie (Richard Edson). One day he gets a visit from his Hungarian cousin Eva (Eszter Balint). And Eddie is immediately smitten. After Eva leaves, Willie and Eddie get some money from betting on horses and they decide to travel and visit Eva in Cleveland in turn.

Weird, weirder, Jim Jarmusch. Stranger Than Paradise is Jim Jarmusch’s first big film and it already has all the trademarks of his work. I guess you have to like his style. I do and I loved the film.

It really is difficult to review this film (or any Jarmusch movie) because you can’t really talk about it’s parts. I mean: the movie really has no plot to speak of. They basically just drift and talk a little and then they sit around for a while and then they drift some more. (So, quite usual behavior for a Jarmusch movie.)

And the acting is not very strong, so it’s not really the charismatic performances that draw you in, either.

And yet Jarmusch manages to create a very singular mood and you get caught up in the movie’s internal logic and it doesn’t even matter.

Also, the movie is really funny, though I can’t put my finger on it, why. I mean there is not one joke I can point out, except maybe for Eva’s and Willie’s aunt who was all kinds of awesome, and the ending; and yet I laughed quite a bit.

Summarising: If you like Jarmusch, you should definitely see this.

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