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Cannes 2016

Jim Jarmusch packs a poetic punch in Paterson

Still from Paterson by Jim Jarmusch
Still from Paterson by Jim Jarmusch Mary Cybulski

Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani star as an unusual movie couple in the latest film from US art house director Jim Jarmusch, who shows he can still pull a punch after 21 films and all these years. Only he does it with kid gloves in Paterson.

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Paterson is the name of the film, the town in New Jersey and the bus driver played by Adam Driver. 

The pun was most likely intended.

The character is a shy poet. He meets a young girl who’s a poet also, and a visiting Japanese poet. They all share a poetic philosophy.

Several characters in the film make reference to William Carlos Williams, the poet born in the late 19th century and who lived in Paterson. Someone calls him Carlos William Carlos.

It doesn’t go unnoticed. The humour is so underplayed that we laugh easily.

Paterson, driver’s character, writes a love poem inspired by a box of matches which are Ohio Blue, Ohio being Jarmusch’s native state.

Paterson’s characters are anti-stereotypes. Each one is a character in the true sense of the word. The acting appears natural, but never realistic.

Daily dose of romance

Paterson’s wife Laura has a different dream each day. From Monday to Sunday, she creates something in black and white, from cupcakes to music to clothes and home decoration. Their life is routine, and unexceptional, apart from the large dose of daily romance.

The film is a treat.

Jarmusch achieves his aim of making a film that is "an antidote to heavy and sombre dramas or action films" and his well-cast actors, at home, on the bus or in the bar, do indeed pay "tribute to the poetry in the details, variations and conversations of everyday life".

Marvin, Paterson and Laura’s British bulldog is yet another well-rounded and engaging, rather naughty, character.

Jarmusch’s Paterson is a reminder of the magical power of movies.

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