Jarmusch, Driver bewitch Cannes with poetic ‘Paterson’
By Associated Press | May 16, 2016, 13:09 EST
CANNES, France (AP) — Jim Jarmusch debuted his patient, bus driver-poet drama “Paterson” at the Cannes Film Festival where festival-goers responded enthusiastically to the film’s gentle and quirky rhythms.
In the movie, Adam Driver plays a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey, who writes poetry inspired by conversations he overhears. The film, too, has a rhyming, internal tempo, full of everyday repetitions and is populated by twins in the background.
“I love variations in music, in art, in cinema,” said Jarmusch, whose film takes place across the seven days of a week. “Each day of our lives is just a small variation of our life from the previous day.”
Jarmusch, the New York filmmaker of “Broken Flowers” and “Only Lovers Left Alive,” acknowledged even he struggles to describe the film’s combination of working-class and creative life, inspired partly by the Paterson poet and doctor William Carlos Williams.
Paterson, the industrial city outside New York, has had a hold on Jarmusch for decades, he said. The city has been home to a surprisingly rich group of artists, including Lou Costello (of “Abbott and Costello”) and poet Allen Ginsberg. “Paterson,” which premiered in Cannes on Monday, is a kind of ode to artistic lives eked out in blue-collar situations.
Jarmusch will also debut his Iggy Pop and the Stooges documentary “Gimme Danger” later in the week at Cannes.
“They are very different stylistically, but they are both about the idea that you in your life can choose your path,” Jarmusch told reporters. “You can choose what you want to do in your life. And ‘Paterson’ is about that.”
The ruminative quiet of “Paterson,” Driver said, resonated with him. In the script, he noticed how many of his directions were simply to be attuned to his surroundings.
“There were so many sentences that started with ‘Paterson listens,'” said the “Girls” and “Force Awakens” actor. “That was a lot of information for a couple months where his main action is to listen to everybody else.”
Driver, too, embodies the film’s dualities. Before Driver was an actor, he was a marine. He served a few years before being medically discharged after a biking accident. He soon thereafter enlisted in drama school.
“I was very struck by the idea that he understands both sides,” Jarmusch said. “He has experience in the military and he went to Julliard. These two things are kind of impressive to me because it’s breaking any kind of cliche of either thing.”
Written by Jake Coyle