|Courtesy of Amazon Studios, Bleecker Street and MovieMaker.|
We all long for lives filled with extraordinary moments, signs that our individual experiences are different from everyone else’s. Yet reality is characterized by repetition and boredom and frustration, routine and shapeless.
Jim Jarmusch’s cinema has always reflected on what can be called, loosely and grandly, the meaning of life. His latest film, Paterson, tells the story of a bus driver (Adam Driver) who writes poetry on the side and dearly loves his wife (Golshifteh Farahani). They live in Paterson, New Jersey, made famous as the subject and hometown (respectively) for American poetry greats William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg; otherwise it’s a relatively humdrum slice of small-town America. The characters’ lives are packed with routine: The bus-driving poet (also named Paterson) goes to work, gets in a couple of verses, drops by the local bar, while his artistic wife Laura stays in home and occupies herself with baking and learning guitar. On the whole, though, they’re happy.
Jarmusch’s whimsical, solemn film would’ve been impossible to pull off without the help of great performances by Driver and Farahani. Farahani, an Iranian actress now based in France, brings to life an effervescent, energetic woman, whose self-absorption and flightiness is balanced with a great deal of charm. Farahani’s successful career in Iran, including frequent work with auteur Asghar Farhadi (she starred in his acclaimed About Elly in 2009), was put on hold when officials banned her from the country following a nude photoshoot in French magazine Madame Figaro. She has since worked with a range of international moviemakers, from Mia Hansen-Løve to Ridley Scott to Jon Stewart. With her courage, versatility and immense talent, her future certainly seems to be very bright.