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CIFF 2016 – Paterson

October 25, 2016




Repetition and rhythm are the binding forces of Jim Jarmusch’s poetic, gorgeous film “Paterson”. Jarmusch has had a career of hit or miss, reaching an apex with 2013’s bewitching vampire rock and roll love story “The Only Lovers Left Alive” – a movie I adored. For me, “Paterson” may be Jarmusch’s best movie or certainly is among them.

We follow a poetry-writing bus driver named Paterson, played by Adam Driver with nuance and real empathy, locked into what most would see as a monotonous daily grind. He wakes up, kisses his sleep-dazed wife (Golshifteh Farahani), has cereal in the same idiosyncratic cup, goes to work. His boss complains, he drives a bus for eight hours, comes home, and on and on and on. Every day. Saving weekends, his routine does not change a lick.

This is the typical American workday, the ‘ol’ nine to five – the reason we have TGIF and we hate Mondays. But to Paterson, the titular bus driver, it is a cherished opportunity to explore the lyricism of the little things. Paterson delightfully observes that which to most remains unobserved. And instead of absorbing these details and forgetting them half a second later – like you or I would – Paterson spins the ordinary into  beautiful poetry. He writes a few lines before work. A few more at lunch. And a little more before dinner. Forming poems he refuses to share with the world. They are just for him. Finding beauty in the everyday is among Paterson’s most powerful lessons, and there are many.

RATING: ***1/2


“Paterson” played to a sold-out audience on Saturday, October 15th at the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) and will should receive a theatrical release in the States on December 28th.




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