Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch, 2005)

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Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch, 2005)

#1 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:59 pm

The New York Times has, what looks to be, the first pic from Jarmusch's new movie, Broken Flowers.


Here's what it's all about:

From Pride, Unprejudiced: ... chs_b.html
Jim Jarmusch's new movie's no longer untitled: it's called Broken Flowers. With its story of middle-aged Bill Murray being dumped by girlfriend Julie Delpy and hitting the road in search of an unknown son and girlfriends past (Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone, Tilda Swinton), where could the odd title come from? The pop-loving director's appreciation of a 1995 song on Sub Pop by Mecca Normal? Or the keen-eyed filmmaker's knowledge of a drawing by Anselm Kiefer at the Met?

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#2 Post by King of Kong » Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:25 pm

Looks good, though the whole "unknown son" business reminds me of the Life Aquatic somewhat... Still, it's probably not going to be all that similar.

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#3 Post by Andre Jurieu » Wed Apr 20, 2005 2:16 pm

Julie Delpy, Tilda Swinton, Jessica Lange, and Sharon Stone. That's an impressive resume, even if it is for a fictional character.

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#4 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed Apr 20, 2005 4:24 pm

King of Kong wrote:Looks good, though the whole "unknown son" business reminds me of the Life Aquatic somewhat... Still, it's probably not going to be all that similar.
Probably not considering Jarmusch's style o' cinema is much different than Wes'.

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#5 Post by Floyd » Wed Apr 20, 2005 5:47 pm

Some time ago I thought I read this was going to be in black and white.

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#6 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon May 02, 2005 3:08 pm

Here are some more stills from the movie:

And a slightly more indepth synopsis:
Murray stars as Don Johnston. The resolutely single Don’s has just been dumped by his latest lover, Sherry (Julie Delpy). Don yet again resigns himself to being alone and left to his own devices. Instead, he is compelled to reflect on his past when he receives by mail a mysterious pink letter. It is from an anonymous former lover and informs him that he has a 19-year-old son who may now be looking for his father. Don is urged to investigate this “mystery” by his closest friend and neighbor, Winston (Jeffrey Wright), an amateur sleuth and family man. Hesitant to travel at all, Don nonetheless embarks on a cross-country trek in search of clues from four former flames (Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone, and Tilda Swinton). Unannounced visits to each of these unique women hold new surprises for Don as he haphazardly confronts both his past and, consequently, his present.

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#7 Post by ecschmidt » Mon May 02, 2005 7:28 pm

To my knowledge, hardly any film stills are actual blowups of 35mm frames from the film. These stills probably capture the look of the film better than an "actual" still would.

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#8 Post by KeystoneCop » Tue May 03, 2005 2:36 pm

Looks good. Is it just me, or does the shot of them sitting on crates, Murray with a strip of gauze over the top of his eye, look like it's directly out of an Aki Kaurismaki movie?

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#9 Post by KJB2 » Wed May 04, 2005 9:09 am

Thanks for the info. I have to say I'll really be looking forward to this one. Hopefully they won't feel the need to push it as a "Bill Murray Comedy", if you get my drift. (Unless, of course, it is . . .but I don't think that's very likely).

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#10 Post by mingus » Wed May 04, 2005 5:51 pm

KJB2 wrote:Thanks for the info. I have to say I'll really be looking forward to this one. Hopefully they won't feel the need to push it as a "Bill Murray Comedy", if you get my drift. (Unless, of course, it is . . .but I don't think that's very likely).
From my side it looks more like "About Schmidt Lost In Translation". I can't help the feeling that both of them in one movie would be great. Like Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas in "Tough Guys".

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#11 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Wed May 18, 2005 9:00 am

Here's a clip from the movie with Murray and Jeffrey Wright: ... railer.php

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#12 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Jun 13, 2005 11:03 am

The trailer is up. Check it out at the URL in the previous post.

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#13 Post by Doctor Sunshine » Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:58 pm

For some reason that trailer didn't get me too excited. But I'm a big Jarmusch whore so I'm sure I'll end up loving it.

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#14 Post by Floyd » Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:06 pm

I was reading IMDB the other day and noticed Focus Features (Universal) was apart of the Production of Broken Flowers, would this mean this is Jarmusch's first time as it is called 'working inside the studio system'?

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#15 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Tue Jul 19, 2005 9:16 am

More pics from the movie: ... owers.html

And the official site is up (not much there yet):

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#16 Post by flambeur » Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:04 am

I can't wait fast enough for this one..hope it makes it to the

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#17 Post by mute nostril agony » Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:13 pm

Crud, I wish Julie Delpy were one of the major characters. But I'm still looking forward to it.

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#18 Post by bunuelian » Fri Jul 29, 2005 11:05 pm

Article on Jarmusch in the Washington Post today. ... 00406.html
'Flowers' Arranger

By Laura Winters

Meeting filmmaker Jim Jarmusch recently in the back room of Emilio's Ballato, an off-the-beaten-track Italian joint on New York's Houston Street, feels like walking into a Jarmusch film. The 52-year-old director has, throughout his career, developed his own indelible universe of hipster cool -- a universe replete with neighborhood hangouts such as Ballato's, where you pass through the hot kitchen, with its caldron of bubbling meat sauce, to get to the white-walled back room.

Jarmusch's hilariously deadpan films are populated with offbeat characters encountering each other in obscure places. But his new film, "Broken Flowers," which opens here on Friday, juxtaposes a particularly vivid crew of people. Bill Murray plays a retired computer entrepreneur and former Don Juan named Don Johnston who is left by his exasperated girlfriend (Julie Delpy) and who sets out to look up a succession of former paramours (played by the all-star team of Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy, Tilda Swinton and Sharon Stone).

Though Jarmusch was born and raised just outside Akron, Ohio, he has lived in downtown New York for almost 30 years. He cuts quite a figure, with his tall lanky frame, striking face and shock of silver hair. "He's this icon, this superhero of the Lower East Side," says actor, and former Washingtonian, Jeffrey Wright, who also stars in "Broken Flowers."

Jarmusch is especially an icon to film industry folk, many of whom credit him as a pioneer of American independent filmmaking. His first film, "Stranger Than Paradise" in 1984, a quirky black-and-white movie about three young people on a road trip, influenced directors as diverse as Spike Lee, Kevin Smith and Gregg Araki. "I was really inspired by 'Stranger Than Paradise,' " says Araki, whose haunting drama "Mysterious Skin," released in June, impressed the critics. "It showed me that a young filmmaker could make a hip, artistic movie which could get seen and talked about around the world."

Though Jarmusch's films are known primarily to art house audiences here, he is admired in international film circles for his poetic originality and his stubborn independence. He has always insisted on complete control over his movies, from start to finish. "My films are handmade," he says, smiling, sitting in Ballato's next to an empty teacup. "They're made in the garage."

Maybe because of that, he exerts a Pied Piper magnetism for A-list actors and musicians. "It's harder and harder in this day and age, in this relentless drive toward mediocrity, to find a director who's an individual," Lange says by phone. "But Jim has retained his individual voice and his vision and he never compromises. At the same time, he's kind of Zenlike: He welcomes all attitudes and behavior."

In person Jarmusch is warm and humorous, a natural raconteur who will effortlessly slip into an imitation of, say, his friend Tom Waits's gravelly voice. But he is also reflexively modest and attuned to other people's feelings. ("Is it okay if I smoke?" he asks later that afternoon. "I don't like to disturb other people's lungs.")

In "Broken Flowers," Murray's character looks up his former girlfriends because he has received an anonymous letter from one of them claiming he is the father of a son he never knew he had. The film, which is both funny and melancholy, won the Cannes Film Festival's second-place honor, the Grand Prize, in May. Critics hailed it as a departure for Jarmusch -- more accessible, some said, and potentially more mainstream.

The words "departure" and "mainstream" seem to alarm him. "I don't understand why people say this film is a departure," Jarmusch says. "I've worked with actors like Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker and Robert Mitchum before. It's not like I suddenly have a cast of known people."

Nonetheless, upon reflection he concedes that there is something different about his latest effort. "Maybe because I've always been attracted to outsiders and marginal characters, and Bill Murray plays a guy here who is not like that," he says.

"Broken Flowers" also features women more prominently than many of Jarmusch's films -- from the warm and sexually magnetic Laura (played by Stone) to the strong and intuitive Carmen (Lange), who works as an "animal communicator," to the still-furious Penny (Tilda Swinton), who slams the door in Don's face.

Jarmusch first got the idea for the film from a longtime girlfriend, filmmaker Sara Driver. "Sara was writing a script with a friend of ours, Bill Raden," he said, "and they came up with the idea of a guy getting an anonymous letter from a former lover saying that they had had a child. Sara and Bill didn't use the idea, but they thought I might like it -- so I carried it around with me for a while, as I tend to do with ideas."

Eventually, Jarmusch wrote the part of Don Johnston for Murray, whom he had known for several years. He also wrote the female roles with many of the specific actresses in mind. He wanted to work with Stone after seeing her virtuoso performance in Martin Scorsese's "Casino" and had long wanted to cast Lange because of her "bohemian-goddess presence."

"He will tailor a role for you as if he's creating a special dish in your honor," says the French African actor Isaach De Bankole, who has starred in three of Jarmusch's films.

Both Murray and Jarmusch share a knack for improvisation: They both, as Jarmusch says laughingly, "are a little contrary, and don't like to plan ahead.

"Bill doesn't like to rehearse," Jarmusch adds. "While we were shooting I told him, 'The script is a sketch to me, and you add or change any dialogue you want.' He did add some things, but he also gave me a number of very subtle variations on each take. The fact that he could do that amazed me."

Murray's funny, wistful performance has been compared with his Oscar-nominated turn in "Lost in Translation." But the actor underscores the difference: "For me, Jim's film was a completely new experience," Murray says by telephone. "I never had a job like this one before. Usually, if you get the lead in a show, you're sort of driving the boat. But here, I never knew ahead of time how any of the actresses were going to play their scenes. So I had to be completely open and just react to them."

He pauses. "You know how people say, 'I'm really proud of this movie'? Well, it's sort of beyond that for me. I feel that I got to something here that I wouldn't have gotten to otherwise. I don't want to walk in and give a performance that I've thought about all week and know exactly what notes I want to hit. I just feel like I know enough about life that I've got the big moves down, sort of. The fine moves are moments you discover as you live life attentively."

Jarmusch shot "Broken Flowers" on locations around New York's Rockland and Westchester counties, and in New Jersey, in the fall of 2004. Frances Conroy recalls the set as homespun, "sort of like a block party." So homespun, in fact, that one morning Jarmusch watched Murray suddenly leave the set, walk to the house across the street (which was not involved in the film shoot), open the door without knocking, and disappear inside. "Ten minutes later, Bill emerges again with a plate of cookies, and starts offering them to the crew," Jarmusch says, shaking his head. "What I would have liked to see was the people inside eating breakfast, when Bill Murray walks in."

Though the film's landscapes feel very American in spirit, its soundtrack has an eerie, exotic languor. As he's traveling from place to place, Don listens to music by the Ethiopian jazz musician Mulatu Astatke (which is given to him by his best friend, Winston, Wright's character, who is Ethiopian). Jarmusch's films have always melded different cultural currents. In 1996's "Dead Man," Johnny Depp's fugitive befriends a Native American seer. In "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai," Forest Whitaker's hit man models himself on the "Hagakure," an early 18th-century Japanese samurai code book.

"You know when you read the warning label on the back of something and it says 'Please don't mix'?" says Waits, who has acted in, and contributed music to, several of Jarmusch's films. "Well, Jim doesn't let that stop him."

Says Jarmusch, "I've always found a great beauty in different people's forms of expression. I feel a bit lost in contemporary America because it seems odd to me that a country made up of people from so many different cultures is so insular right now."

Jarmusch says he was obsessed with music and books as a teenager growing up in Akron. His father worked for B.F. Goodrich before becoming the president of a small manufacturing company in Cleveland. Jim went to Northwestern University and then transferred to Columbia, where he majored in literature.

During a semester in Paris he discovered the Cinematheque Francaise, the renowned film archive, and the works of directors from all over the world. He applied to graduate film school at New York University and while there became a protege of director Nicholas Ray, perhaps best known for "Rebel Without a Cause," who introduced him to the German film director Wim Wenders. Wenders liked Jarmusch's student thesis film and gave him some leftover film stock, which eventually helped to jump-start "Stranger Than Paradise."

The film was shown at Cannes in 1984 and stunned Jarmusch by winning the Camera d'Or, the prize for best first feature. "We were street punks, we had nothing," he recalls, still incredulous. "We put up the posters ourselves on the street. And then the film was bought all over Europe."

In the wake of newfound celebrity, he started working on "Down by Law," which starred a young Italian comedian, Roberto Benigni, whom he had met at a film festival. After "Down by Law" came "Mystery Train," the tale of a young Japanese couple on Elvis's trail in Memphis, and "Night on Earth," set in five different cities.

He made four feature-length films in the next 12 years: "Dead Man," "Year of the Horse" (a concert documentary about Neil Young and his band), "Ghost Dog" and 2004's "Coffee and Cigarettes," an effervescent collection of vignettes with a starry cast.

Most of Jarmusch's films have been financed by foreign companies, and he works slowly because of his involvement in every step of the process. But even "Broken Flowers," which was financed by Focus Features (the specialty films unit of Universal Pictures), was made with the same degree of creative control. "I always negotiate my financing deals with a loaded shotgun," Jarmusch says, "and this film was made the same way as I made the others."

He is already working on several new ideas, and says that he tries not to analyze his films too much once they are finished. "I don't learn anything by looking back at them," he says. "They're like little signposts along the way, and if you start investing too much importance in a certain moment, you're losing the thread. I carry the memory of shooting my films more deeply than the actual films themselves." He smiles. "For me, it's all about the process, not the destination."

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#19 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Aug 01, 2005 12:58 pm

Jarmusch's doing the Press circuit. Nice interview/profile in The New York Times: ... oref=login

here's a particularly memorable quote from said article:
Throughout his life, he has courted and cultivated influences and mentors, and though many of his mentors have now died, they seem to float around his brain like wise, stubborn, pontificating ghosts. ''I really miss Joe Strummer,'' he said. ''Even though he's dead, I still get advice from him. He's very good at telling you to stick to your guns. I have Nick Ray, Sam Fuller and Joe -- I have some great spirits when I need guidance. I hear William Burroughs a lot, too, but I don't really want to listen to his advice.''

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#20 Post by Martha » Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:28 pm

HA! That is freaking awesome. Burroughs, though, would be scary for sure. I'd give anything to be haunted by Raymond Chandler.

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#21 Post by exte » Sat Aug 06, 2005 10:50 pm

Some of you guys are going to hate me for this, but after reading this interview I couldn't help it. (If we can have a fucking thread about cover art, then by all means allow me just this once...)


The Interview:
Jarmusch shows 'the Money'

He always wanted to work with Bill Murray, Jim Jarmusch said. "He's got a big-brush style where he's a comic genius. But he can also paint with a one-haired brush." That was the Murray that Jarmusch wanted, the one he had seen in "The Razor's Edge," "Mad Dog and Glory," "Ed Wood," "Rushmore" and "Lost in Translation." So it should have been simple. Jarmusch worked on a screenplay for four or five months, went to Cannes in 2002 to raise the money for it, and came home with most of the financing in place.

"I have some good news and some bad news," the director told his star.

"Good news?" said Murray.

"I have most of the money."

"Bad news?"

"I don't really want to do this script."

The script was titled "Three Moons in the Sky." Doesn't much matter what it was about, since it will not be made. Murray nodded at the bad news, and said, "Well, what are you thinking of doing?"

"I have this other idea," Jarmusch said. He told him the story of "Broken Flowers." It was a project that had been accumulating for years, in notes and jottings and two and a half complete scenes, about a man who is told that he had a son 20 years ago. Now the boy may be coming to find him.

"That sounds good, Murray said. "Why don't we do that?"

So they did, and in May the film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Now it is opening around the country, which is why Jarmusch was sitting in the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago talking about it and calling downstairs for a quote on a carton of cigarettes, "because in New York cigarettes are now $8 a pack."

Jim Jarmusch, like John Sayles, like Robert Altman, is a solo helmsman in an age of cruise ships. He makes his movies one at a time, proceeding from his own musings and inspirations, indifferent to "the carrots they dangle in Hollywood." His titles have included "Stranger Than Paradise," "Ghost Dog," "Mystery Train," "Dead Man," "Down by Law," "Night on Earth" and "Coffee and Cigarettes." Either you know them or you don't; a description would not help. When a new Jarmusch film opens, there is a stirring in those circles where people really care about good movies. He makes the kinds of movies where Steve Buscemi is not considered a character actor.

"I'm stubborn," he said. "I have to fight. The studios want to be your partner in the creative process. That's why I find most of my financing overseas. I don't let the Money give me notes on my scripts. I don't allow the Money on the set. I don't allow the Money in the editing room. These days, even the little independent studios, they act like Hollywood. Some kid is making a movie for $500,000, and they want the final cut. Seems like the squares are taking over everything."

He doesn't sound angry. He is just describing how he works, and how he will not work. It is just as well the Money was not in the editing room the day he started to edit "Broken Flowers."

"I walked in and told Jay Rabinowitz, the editor, that I wanted to cut the film backwards. 'I don't know how to start at the beginning,' I told him. 'I don't know where he's going.' "

The movie follows Bill Murray on a curious personal odyssey.

When we meet him, he is Don Johnston, a retired millionaire who made a fortune in computers. His latest girlfriend (Julie Delpy) has just walked out, uneventfully. Now he sits on a sofa in his living room, looking at videos. Period. He lives next door to Winston (Jeffrey Wright), an ebullient guy with three jobs, a cheerful wife and a houseful of kids. One day Don gets an anonymous letter telling him that 20 years ago he had a son. The son may be trying to find him, the letter says, and so the writer thought Don should know.

Winston is delighted. He's an amateur detective, and extracts from Don a list of all the women who could possibly be the boy's mother. Then he devises an itinerary and hands Don an envelope with his airline tickets, his rental car agreement, his MapQuest routes, everything. Don begins, without much joy, to work his way through the list.

"This guy is a static lump," Jarmusch said. "The film was odd for me because, at the beginning of the story, I don't empathize with the character at all. But Bill can cumulatively make us identify with him by the end. So I started at the end, deliberately selecting the right pieces of Bill's performance. He provides you with a lot of subtle variations, within a certain range. How they accumulate into a character is very subtle. You don't know at first if he even wants a son at all. There's some hole in him. It's not explained. I didn't want a backstory, an opening scene about his mother or his neuroses, nothing like that. Just a man watching TV, who finds out he may have a son."

The women he visits, one after another, are played by Frances Conroy, Sharon Stone, Jessica Lange and Tilda Swinton.

"A lot of it is not so realistic," Jarmusch said. "Why doesn't be just blurt out and ask the question: 'Did we have a child together?' But the paternity is just a device, really. This is a movie about a guy going back to see where his life might have gone. When he visits these women and their homes and families, he sees an edge of his own possible past."

The scene with Frances Conroy was the first one they shot, Jarmusch said. "I don't care about shooting a film in order. I focus on one scene at a time. That's a lesson I learned when I was an assistant to Nicholas Ray. He told me, 'Don't ever think about the whole film. When you're shooting a scene, it is all about that scene.'"

Do you rehearse the scene?

"I never talk to actors as a group. Only one at a time. I talk to them about being their characters. Never, ever, about the meaning of the scene. I don't want the actors overladen with research, so they grow stale.

"I love to rehearse when the actors want to, but I never rehearse scenes in the script."

I wrote that down, and then did a double take.

"Then what do you rehearse?" I asked.

"I invent scenes for their characters," Jarmusch said. "It doesn't make sense to lead them through a scene. They have to find their own way. But we can work on the characters. In 'Mystery Train,' Elizabeth Bracco and Steve Buscemi played characters who were related. So we rehearsed some scenes where they appear together, even though in the film they never meet one another. That way when he referred to her, you sensed he knew who she was.

"Forest Whitaker, when we made 'Ghost Dog,' he was Ghost Dog. He was walking around as Ghost Dog, and people who didn't know he was Forest Whitaker, they just related purely and simply to the character.

"Jeffrey Wright was my first idea for Winston. I wrote the role for him. He likes to go over a scene. 'That's fine,' I told him, 'but go over it with someone else. I don't want to be telling you how to do it.'"

In his "Dead Man" (1995), Jarmusch directed Robert Mitchum in his last film. What was that like?

"I have never felt intimidated working with actors ever," he said, "but Mitchum is such an icon. And he does not improvise. One day I wanted him to switch two lines around. 'Change?' he says. 'What do you mean change?' I told him I was sorry. 'Sorry. That's what they said to Gary Gilmore,' he says. But finally, 'all right, all right,' he agrees to it.

"He carried a big shotgun in the movie. I got all of these classic antique shotguns and took them up to his house in Santa Barbara, laid them out on the floor on towels, and told him to pick the one he wanted. He looked them over and said, 'Which one is the lightest?' "
Some fine Jarmusch quotes taken from the article above:
I don't really want to do this script.

I don't let the Money give me notes on my scripts.

I don't allow the Money on the set.

I don't allow the Money in the editing room.

I don't know how to start at the beginning.

I don't know where he's going.

I don't empathize with the character at all.

I don't care about shooting a film in order.

I don't want the actors overladen with research, so they grow stale.

I don't want to be telling you how to do it.

I never talk to actors as a group.

Never, ever, about the meaning of the scene.

...I never rehearse scenes in the script.

I have never felt intimidated working with actors ever.

Call this thread worthless, useless, and having absolutely nothing related to his films, fine, but I couldn't help but notice... It just seems he has drama written all over him. A real New York fart, you know? There goes whatever popularity I had over here... :lol:

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#22 Post by neuro » Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:12 am

Okay, I'll bite.

With all due respect, exte, I don't quite understand the point you're trying to make. You can excerpt any sort of similar quotes, positive or negative, from any article on any person, and portray them which ever way you like (in some circles, they call this phenomenon "editing").

However, if my assumptions are correct, you're trying to portray Jarmusch as a bland pain-in-the-ass. What to make of this quote, then:
He doesn't sound angry. He is just describing how he works, and how he will not work.

It just seems to me like Jarmusch is able to make confident decisions in order to stay true to his own personal vision (which, might I add, is a trait that is becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain in his particular industry). It's one of the reasons I admire him so much (and, for the record, this particular film as well.)

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#23 Post by exte » Sun Aug 07, 2005 2:55 am

You certainly have a point. He is confident, and certainly has his method and style, I agree. He just sounds like he's so beyond everything about directing, you know he doesn't do this, he doesn't do that. Hell, he doesn't even give direction. It just seems like he's going so far to prove just what kind of guy he is. Granted it's an interview, but whatever... Sorry to degrade the quality of this forum. Feel free to lock or delete.

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#24 Post by lord_clyde » Sun Aug 07, 2005 6:14 am

Jarmusch rulez.

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#25 Post by milkcan » Sun Aug 07, 2005 4:50 pm

I, too, think Jarmusch is simply describing how he works. Exte, have you "experienced" Criterion's Down By Law DVD? Jarmusch points out he doesn't care for dubbing a film, which this particular film bares a French dub, and he talks about how he discussed dubbing with Fellini. Not once did Jarmusch say he put down Fellini- he was "impressed" by his methods, but didn't care to use them in his films.

Jarmusch, from what I've read and heard (no, I don't know him personally) is an artist who loves other peoples' art as well. His influences are apparent, and I don't believe he think's he's "above" anyone else. I can see why some people find him conceited (all black, hair, Lower East Side)- but he seems truthfully to be a very private but open-minded person who enjoys every medium.

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