BY HANNAH PRIMAN
Paterson is a beautifully filmed masterpiece with captivating cinematography that enlightens the senses with awe and wonder. Paterson (Adam Driver) is a city bus driver who happens to live in Paterson, New Jersey. He balances his job with his passion for poetry as well as his stay-at-home wife aspiring to be a country singer. Paterson is not like the usual movie that’s structured with exposition, climax and resolution. Rather it runs in a low key steady sequence.
Jim Jarmusch the director of the film got his inspiration for the script over 20 years ago on a trip he made to Paterson, where one of his favourite poets William Carlos Williams wrote his most famous poem called ‘Paterson.’ From there Jim composed a story revolving around a poet who’s a working class man in Paterson who’s a good poet, but not a known one rather he is kept quiet and taken by the rhythms of the weeks.
A week in the life of Paterson, the film is organised in a simplistic manner and routine. Everyday Paterson rises early, kisses his wife, gets ready for work and turns on the ignition on a city bus and drives into the world. He looks out of his bus window, and views turn into framed images in his mind, he listens to conversational interests and collects different pieces of his everyday life.
He returns home to his wife and talks about the details of the day and exchange discussions, walks his dog and stops at the local bar for a beer, at the end of each day the screen fades black to let the audience know that Paterson’s day has come to an end.
In an interview with Jim Jarmusch he says, “Routine is very liberating and nurturing for him,” Jarmusch says. “To be a poet and to drift around and observe small things, overhear conversations, you know, whatever strikes him.” Patersons repetitive days are what makes Paterson captivated by the quietness of his town, the beauty in nature, and the steady flow of life.
The world we see and experience in Paterson is like a poem itself, scenic views, industrial, urban, and quaint. Throughout the film poetry appears on the screen and as Paterson is speaking the poem out loud his imagination becomes words. Imagery displayed in this film is quiet aesthetic, double exposure is used as if to convey Patersons thinking patterns. This style makes the film feel personal and intimate.
The poems are written by American poet Ron Padgett. Jim Jarmusch and Ron went to the same college together. When Ron started on the poems for the film he said he could drift into what he imagined to be the mind of the main protagonist. Ron’s writing style is precise, tangible and pictorial.
Paterson, is a gentle, creatively put together and empowering film. For the writers, poets and film lovers this is a film that is both endearing and reflective and will spark your imagination and creative flare.