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Posted at 5:47 PM ET, 08/ 4/2005

The Sad and Beautiful World of Jim Jarmusch


Silver Spring will be my second home for the month of August. No, I don't have Silver Sprung fever. It's "The Sad and Beautiful World of Jim Jarmusch" retrospective at AFI's Silver Theatre that will keep me coming back. Jarmusch has been a favorite of critics and hipsters for more than 20 years; in a recent Post article, Laura Winters aptly described his creations as "hilariously deadpan films ... populated with offbeat characters encountering each other in obscure places." That would be Roberto Benigni as an Italian tourist on a jailbreak through the Louisiana swamp ("Down By Law"), Forest Whittaker as a silent samurai hitman in a modern-day metropolis ("Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai") or Johnny Depp as a Cleveland accountant thrown into the fire in the Wild West ("Dead Man").

The advance buzz on Jarmusch's latest, "Broken Flowers," is quite positive and it could be the movie that takes him from Landmark to Regal, so to speak. So this showcase is a perfect opportunity for those just becoming acquainted with his films to get up to speed.

Jarmusch's entire oeuvre will be featured over the next three weeks, from his early art-house favorites ("Stranger Than Paradise," "Down By Law") to some lesser-known works (his rarely seen debut, "Permanent Vacation," and the 1997 Neil Young documentary, "Year of the Horse"). But if there's one film to go out of your way to see, it's his 1995 surrealist western, "Dead Man." Forced to choose, this is my single favorite movie of all time. Johnny Depp gives the performance of his life (which is saying something) as fish-out-of-water Cleveland banker William Blake. A top-notch supporting cast includes Gary Farmer, Robert Mitchum and Lance Henriksen; and the film is shot in stunning black-and-white by Jarmusch's longtime cinematographer Robby Muller. Neil Young's haunting score -- which he composed while watching the film for the first time -- only adds to the overall otherworldliness. I am seriously considering going to see this all four times it plays at AFI. See you there.

-- David

By  | August 4, 2005; 5:47 PM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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Wow. Is it really THAT good? Ok. Ok. I'll go see it. That's the strongest recommendation I think I've ever seen...

Posted by: Michael | August 10, 2005 11:05 AM | Report abuse

It is THAT good.

Posted by: Donna | August 10, 2005 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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