Beloved French director Claire Denis once said, “What I like best is to smoke cigarettes and listen to music. A perfect day for me is a day with coffee, cigarettes, and music, to quote Jim Jarmusch.” And when you think of the iconic New York director, with his signature stunning white coiffure, the beauty of his films exist in the lingering moments of everyday life–like the simple pleasure of a strong cup of coffee and a fresh cigarette. And for over three decades now, Jarmsuch has been making films—as well as writing music and poetry—that live in a world entirely of his creation. Focused on mood and idiosyncratic characters, his movies tell us intricate stories through fractured vignettes that display his fantastic ear for pairing music with bodies. Jarmusch’s cinematic universe is minimalistic in structure but rich in personality, coming to life through dialogue and repetition of brilliant actors like John Lurie, Tom Waits, Tilda Swinton, and Bill Murray.
And now, thanks to The Seventh Art, we’re able to get a closer glance at Jim’s working process with an on-set docuementary—Behind Jim Jarmusch—shot during the making of The Limits of Control.
French filmmaker Lea Rinaldi took her camera to Seville, one of the filming locations for The Limits of Control, and was able to catch time with the enduring filmmaker on set, resulting in this hour-long portrait of an artist at the helm. As a person, Jarmusch is about as veracious and impassive as one would expect, with a penchant for waxing philosophical about life, art and the film-making process. Rinaldi’s camera captures revealing moments of frustration and beauty, trekking through the vibrant set and streets with one of the key faces of independent film.
So enjoy the 51-minute doc below and wander through some of his best moments HERE.
One day in my sophomore year of college, I walked into my Contemporary American Cinema class at IFC Center and there was Steve Buscemi just chillin’ with my professor. I froze a bit—seeing him out of context was an odd thing at 9 AM on Tuesday, and is anyone ever fully prepared to just bump into the wonder that is the lovably wonky smile and buggering eyes of Steve Buscemi? He wasn’t doing anything particularly weird—just hanging out in a sweater before going off to pre-production Boardwalk Empire rehearsal. He had stopped by my class to screen and talk about his 2007 intimate drama Interview, which he wrote, directed, and starred in opposite Sienna Miller. And although nowadays he’s mainly known for his role as the anti-hero political/gangster Nucky Thompson on Boardwalk Empire—for which he has won multiple Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe—it’s his early film roles that truly exemplify the talented but always weird Buscemi we love so much.
And as today is his 55th birthday, what better way to celebrate his career chock-full of cult favorites than to look back on his best roles—spanning from his work with Jim Jarmusch in the late ’80s, Tarantino and the Coens in the ’90s, and the other goodies in between and after. Enjoy.
Charlie the Barber in Mystery Train (1989)
Told through a series of vignettes all centered around one hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, JIm Maramusch’s 1989 ode to the spirit of Elvis Presley, featured Buscemi in the small but memorable role as Charlie the Barber in the final story of the film, “Lost in Space,” for which he was nominated for an Indepedent Spirit Award.
Mr. Pink in Resevoir Dogs (1992)
In 1992 Quentin Tarantino made his directorial debut with Reservoir Dogs, shooting his career forward and garnering him an obsessive fan base. And in the role of Mr. Pink, Buscemi was embedded as a violent and bizarro cult icon for movies to come. The role also won him his first an Independent Spirit Award.
Buddy Holly in Pulp Ficton (1994)
After Reservoir Dogs, of course Buscemi would make a cameo in Tarantino’s next and most acclaimed film, 1994’s Pulp Fiction. Unless you’re paying close attention you might not catch him, but he’s surely there as Buddy Holly in the iconic Jack Rabbit Slim’s Restaurant scene.
Carl Showalter in Fargo (1996)
As the star of Joel and Ethan Cohen’s Fargo, Buscemi got to sink his wonky teeth into the character of desperate criminal, Carl Showalter. The zany 1996 crime drama wasn’t only a career hit for Buscemi but also won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
Donny Kerabetsos in The Big Lebowski (1998)
Reuniting with the Coen Brothers again, Buscemi hopped onboard the cult favorite The Big Lebowski. In the 1996 comedy, he plays the timid bowling buddy Donny Kerabetsos opposite the beloved Jeff Bridges and John Goodman.
Dave Veltri in The Wedding Singer (1998)
It’s been years since I’ve seen the ’80s-set Adam Sandler comedy The Wedding Singer, but when I look back on it, the first thing I think of is Buscemi drunk in a teal suit. His role as Dave Teltri is strange and ridiculous with that Buscemi creep factor you know and love.
Homeless Guy in Big Daddy (1999)
Reuniting with Sandler in the 1999 comedy Big Daddy, Buscemi makes an appearance as a homeless man. Enough said.
Seymour in Ghost World (2001)
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Ghost World tells the story of two teenage outsiders, one of which becomes involved with a misanthropic older man, Seymour. Played by Buscemi with the right mix of humor and sadness, the role got him a Golden Globe nomination and won him a second Independent Spirit Award.
Already one of my favorite films of 2014, Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive has been tingling in my bloodstream since its New York premiere back at the New York Film Festival. We’ve noted that his undead love story starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddelson is an, “absolutely delicious and cool baby cool tale of bloodsucking, undead love. A playful and nocturnal examination of modernity’s foibles through the RayBan covered eyes of those who’ve lived through its beauty and its horror. Scored to perfection and directed with the touch of a man who knows how to make a story feel like a jazz riff, the film is as if the Nick Cave scene in Wings of Desire made friend’s with Mick Jagger inPerformance to create your new favorite onscreen romance from Swinton and Hiddleston.”
And after the first trailer for the feature made its way online earlier this month, we now have a batch of new photos from the moonlit film. Check some of them out below and see the rest HERE.
For the last two weeks, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has been hosting to this year’s New York Film Festival—and it has been an absolute pleasure to attend. In our upcoming interview with director Claire Denis—whose new filmBastards premiered last week—she spoke about the festival, saying, “It’s a place where you have time to think about the film you just finished. You’re not under the pressure of publicity or competition. It’s an open space with people I like and people I like to meet, and so it makes me a better filmmaker.”
And for their 51st annual festival, NYFF unveiled some of the most acclaimed features of the coming few months and year—from the best of international cinema to the features that have been on the tip of everyone’s tongue for months. Alongside their incredible line-up of new films—from Spike Jonze’s Her and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive to Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin and Hirokazu Koreeda’s Like Father, Like Son—NYFF also is currently also hosting an expansive Jean-Luc Godard retrospective. So after the past few weeks of watching wonderful films from the Walter Reade theater, here are our ten favorite of this year’s NYFF (that we were able to catch), in no particular order.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Jim Jarmusch’s absolutely delicious and cool baby cool tale of bloodsucking, undead love. A playful and nocturnal examination of modernity’s foibles through the RayBan covered eyes of those who’ve lived through its beauty and its horror. Scored to perfection and directed with the touch of a man who knows how to make a story feel like a jazz riff, the film is as if the Nick Cave scene in Wings of Desire made friend’s with Mick Jagger in Performance to create your new favorite onscreen romance from Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston.
James Gray’s very own McCabe & Mrs. Miller that begins with familiarity but divulges into a trying look at the lengths one goes to for survival, the madness of love, and forgiveness as a means of salvation. Shot with a Vilmos Zsigmond-esque glow, the film has a painful allure that proves a wonderful showcase for its cast.
Spike Jonze’s strange and frightening portrait of modern love that shows the dichotomy and tension between the comforting affection of fantastical, easy love over the struggles of real human connection. While at times sharply funny, beautifully moving, and very smart, the film felt like it could never fully commit to its own ethos, leaving the most profound moments unrealized or turned into comedy. But all the while, it was a brilliantly acted case study of emotion and visually a pleasure to take in without ever really cutting the skin.
A Touch of Sin
Jia Zhangke’s forceful tetraptych drama that explodes with violence yet allows its own moments for reflection. A portrait of modern China that explores the fine line between man and beast and the pleasure and satisfaction that can be derived from that brutality.
12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen’s fearless and unflinching masterpiece whose absolute brutality is matched by its adamant exposure to what makes us human and the evils we’re capable of. The film truly showcases the work of a man who harbors an uncompromising vision and an incredible ability to pull performances from the marrow of his actors.
Tsai Ming-liang’s bleak urban endurance test whose silence allowed for reflection but conjured up only slight emotion in the absence of movement. The removed spacial silence eminded me of Stephen Shore’s Oregon billboard, except it’s raining and devoured by someone’s incisors.
Like Father, Like Son
Hirokazu Koreeda’s emotional drama that forces us to question our own internal set of values and those that have given us life. It’s a delicate tickling of most potent emotional keys that asks a question almost too painful to consider answering and examines it with genuinely heartbreaking honesty.
Claire Denis’ haunting family portrait that lives in the darkness that rises from the aftermath of death. An oddly sensuous nightmare voyage through an unforgiving world that lurks in shadows and painful lies. Exposes a kind of evil culled from the stories that we read and see everyday which have become second nature to us, their dastardliness barely leaving a mark on our skin.
Paul Greengrass’ thrillingly tense drama that captures you with a forceful hand and refuses to let go until its highly emotional end. Void of spectacle and infused with a kind of genuine force rarely seen in docudramas, the film possesses the cinematic excitement of the best hostage thrillers but strips the genre of its pretense.
Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s entrancing and beautiful ethnographic documentary taking place high above the mountains of Nepal. As the Holy Motors of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, perhaps a packed theater is too limited for such a film, as it deserves to be free of confines. A meditative and exploratory journey that perhaps should be projected in a large space that allows for its audience to enter the film in a more unconventional way.
Sundays may be a "wan, stuff shadow of a robust Saturday" or a day of "forced leisure for folks who have no aptitude for leisure," according to Tom Robbins, but a weekend is still a weekend. The pleasure of a Friday night, the knowing the burdens of work week have a brief respite carry themselves into the following two days of leisure, and what better way to indulge in that leisure than heading to the cinema.
And this weekend, there are more than enough wonderful films showing around New York for you to disappear into. Whether it’s your favorite Claire Denis, Roman Polanski, David Lynch, or the latest NYFF premieres from Jim Jarmusch, Spike Jonze, and the Coen Brothers, there’s surely something to satisfy every cinematic appetite. I’ve founded up the best of what’s playing around the city, so peruse our list, and enjoy.
The Last Picture Show Bottle Rocket Escape From Tomorrow Design Is One: The Vignellis Blue Caprice Dracula 3D I Used to Be Darker Frances Ha Alien (1979) Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird Mulholland Drive Muscle Shoals A Touch of Sin Una Noche Wicker Man: The Final Cut
Un Chambre En Ville Let the Fire Burn Russian Ark Model Shop The Pied Piper Donkey Skin Shall We Dance
An Evening With Bruce Dern: Smile Arabian Nights I Am Suzanne! Whistle Down the Wind Requiem NN Nightmare Alley Kundun Hangover Square Goha The Aviator 10 Rillngton Place Hugo
When a director says that their next feature will be, yet another pained undead love story, one might roll their eyes and say, “Pass!” But when Jim Jarmusch announces that his next film will be a hopeless vampire romance starring Tilda Swinton, you say, “Yes, please!” And after having its premiere at Cannes and May and showing in Toronto earlier this month, Only Lovers Left Alive will have its New York debut at NYFF in the coming weeks—and I couldn’t be more excited. Sadly, the film won’t be rolling into theaters until 2014 but will all hope, this is one worth waiting for.
Jarmusch’s undead drama tells the story of Adam (played by Tom Hiddelston), a deeply depressed underground musician who reunites with his eternal and enigmatic love, Eve (Swinton). Having already endured several centuries together, their love story is thwarted by the presence of Eve’s crazy younger sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska.) John Hurt and Anton Yelchin filling out the supporting cast in the film, which The Film Stage calls, “Minimal in style, yet bleeding with coolness, this is perhaps the most unusual and restrained vampire movie in recent memory, primarily because Jarmusch is less concerned with the violent thirst for blood and other typical cliches associated with this sub-genre of mythology.”
And today we’ve got a new set of bloodthirsty stills from Only Lovers Left Alive for you to enjoy. Take a look below.
For quite some time, I have been waiting with eager anticipation for Jim Jarmusch’s new feature. As one of the most idiosyncratic and brilliant directors working today, his films have the most unique and wonderful feeling to them, always unlike anything else and populated with characters as rich as the brilliant aesthetic quality of all his picutres. And with his latest—currently at Cannes—Only Lovers Left Alive, he looks to be bringing his signature style to an dark and undead tale.
Starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Anton Yelchin, Jarmusch’s vampire flick now has an official synopsis and full director’s statement for your viewing pleasure. And if that’s not enough, there’s also a bundle of new stills from the film, giving you the first bite of his bloodsucking new work. Enjoy.
Synopsis: Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?
Director’s Statement: Only Lover Left Alive is an unconventional love story between a man and a woman, Adam and Eve. (My script was partially inspired by the last book published by Mark Twain: The Diaries of Adam and Eve — though no direct reference to the book is made other than the character’s names.) These two lovers are archetypal outsiders, classic bohemians, extremely intelligent and sophisticated — yet still in full possession of their animal instincts. They have traveled the world and experienced many remarkable things, always inhabiting the shadowed margins of society. And, like their own love story, their particular perspective on human history spans centuries — because they happen to be vampires.
But this is not your usual vampire story. Set in the very distinct cities of Detroit and Tangier, and taking place almost entirely at night, Adam and Eve must have human blood to survive. But they now live in the world of the 21st century where biting the neck of a stranger would be reckless and regressive — for survival, they must be certain the blood that sustains them is pure and free of disease or contamination. And, almost like shadows, they have learned long ago to deftly avoid the attention of any authorities. For our fi lm, the vampire is a resonant metaphor — a way to frame the deeper intentions of the story. This is a love story, but also the story of two exceptional outsiders who, given their unusual circumstances, have a vast overview of human and natural history, including stunning achievements and tragic and brutal failures. Adam and Eve are themselves metaphors for the present state of human life — they are fragile and endangered, susceptible to natural forces, and to the shortsighted behavior of those in power.
A few weeks ago, we learned that Jim Jarmusch’s first feature in four years, the undead love story Only Lovers Left Alive would be heading to Cannes this week. With little word on the film—save it’s fantastic cast of andro-goddess Tilda Swinton, Ton Hiddelston, Mia Wasikowska, and Anton Yelchin—we really didn’t need much to suck us into this one. And with Cannes kicking off tomorrow, two new clips from Jarmusch’s film have beeb released.
Now, usually I tend to stress the importance of savoring a film as whole rather than being bombarded with clips before seeing the picture, but come on—how could you resist? And besides, these two brief clips only give us a slight taste and prove to give nothing away.
So as Only Lovers Left Alive heads into Cannes in competition this week, see the bite of the vampire flick that follows:
Adam, a deeply depressed underground musician who reunites with his eternal and enigmatic love, Eve. Having already endured serveral centuries together, their love story is thwarted by the presence of Eve’s crazy younger sister, Ava. Swinton, Tom Hiddelston, and Mia Wasikowska take on the leading roles with John Hurt and Anton Yelchin filling out the supporting cast.
And as expected, everyone looks fantastic. With Jarmusch’s affinity for music it’s only natural that his musical partner in Squrl will be giving the goth-rockers some tunes to play with. Enjoy.
Sunday may be a "wan, stuff shadow of a robust Saturday" or a day of "forced leisure for folks who have no aptitude for leisure," according to Tom Robbins, but Mondays will always take the cake for the most dismal day of the week. And as we all crawl into the work week, let’s at least take comfort in knowing once the end of the day rolls around, there are plenty of fantastic things to do this week in New York to satisfy any interest. From staring wistfully at a collection of melancholic and beautiful photographs by Dennis Hopper to bathing in the sounds of Jim Jarmusch to showing off your Twin Peaks knowledge, this week is packed with pleasures to take part in before Friday even rolls around. Peruse our list and ease into your week a little bit easier with the promise of fun.