"We had plenty of matches at home."
VIFF 2016—Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch envisions Adam Driver as an amiable bus driver who (whimsically) writes simple poetry on the side while on break from his shifts. Paterson, named after the eponymous New Jersey city and existential title character, is a sweet yet deadpan rumination on artistic pursuits and finding creativity in everyday life.
Expressed modestly and structured as a run-of-the-mill, Monday to Sunday work week, the film revels in oddball moments of reflection full of quirk and recurring themes (like twins). It's a soulful, dreamy film with some precise comic timing celebrating daily slices of Americana. Driver is delightfully pleasant and earnest as a relatively happy-go-lucky worker bee. He takes the time to enjoy his work-a-day life while still quietly yearning for more artistic satisfaction.
Paterson's dreamer/artist wife Laura, played joyously by Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, and English bulldog Marvin play an important part of the title character's working-class life as Jarmusch frames repeated action and rituals as short stories within a larger human context. Based around routine and ordinary living, Jarmusch finds poetry in repetition, small moments, and overheard conversations.
Paterson is a uniquely Jarmusch vision of artistry wrapped in small town, blue collar life. Its simple but effective use of recurring motifs and repetition highlights the little moments of inspiration and bizarre happenstance. Driver and Jarmusch make for an amusing and winning combination of story and performance.
Paterson screened at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the Panorama and Style in Film series.
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