Director: Jim Jarmusch
Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Rizwan Manji, Method Man, William Jackson Harper, Chasten Harmon, Barry Shabaka Henley, Masatoshi Nagase
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 22.10.2016
Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey, and likes to write poetry in his spare time. His girlfriend Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) champions him and his art, as he does his best to support her in her music and her projects that mostly involve black and white decoration. Their life is quiet and full of routines, but even so, they have their ups and downs.
Paterson is such a wonderfully warm film, I left the cinema floating on cloud number 9 like after a really good first date (only I never had a first date that left me feeling quite like this). It’s a love letter to poetry and to Paterson, NJ, and it sees and shows the beauty of the everyday so clearly, I felt nothing but love for it.
I was not familiar with William Carlos Williams before seeing Paterson – it’s his poetry Jarmusch gives to Paterson the character. And I have to admit that the first couple of poems did irritate me a little. But it didn’t take long and I fell in love with them as I fell in love with the film.
The film itself, to me, feels like a (William Carlos Williams as I got to know him through this film) poem made film in its entirety, just without the rhyming. There are careful repetitions and variations and the way it moves in circles and still manages to progress, the rhythms, the clever work with themes and symbolism (like the black and white, the twins or, connected to both, the shadows). But also its emotional touch and attentiveness had a lyrical quality for me.
In all this gushing, there was one thing that I didn’t like all that much and that was casting Adam Driver as Paterson. Not because he didn’t fit the role well, he did, but because I felt that the story definitely shouldn’t have focused on the only white man in the entire film. Around Paterson there are only persons of color, mostly black, and the lead should have been of color as well (maybe even a woman of color, a girl can dream). Especially since William Carlos Williams was Puerto Rican himself.
But even so, the film is an absolute treasure and immediately got a spot deep in my heart. It’s a wise person’s thinking about creativity and art, but most importantly, it’s a little bit of quotidien magic caught on film.
Summarizing: simply wonderful.