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Other titles in the Conversations with Filmmakers series:
Jim Jarmusch: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers)
Synopses & Reviews
Perhaps the most gifted and invigorating of the American independent film directors of the past two decades, Jim Jarmusch (b. 1953) has presented moviegoers with his uniquely personal vision, from his first feature film, Permanent Vacation (1980), to his latest, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999).
As the interviews in this volume reveal, Jarmusch has always been interested in mixing very different cultural ingredients to form something uncategorizably new in films that transcend the boundaries between high and low cultures. Jarmusch half-mockingly described his movie Stranger Than Paradise (1984), the film that first brought him substantial notice, as "a semi-neorealist black comedy in the style of an imaginary Eastern European film director obsessed with Ozu, and familiar with the 1950s American television show The Honeymooners."
His unique approach to movie making jump-started the low-budget American independent film movement with Stranger Than Paradise, which won the Camera d'Or for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival.
Ranging from 1981 to 2000 this collection chronicles the career and sensibility of a thoroughly independent filmmaker. It features one previously unpublished interview, two that have never appeared in English, and another two which are presented in their entirety rather than in the abridged forms in which they were published.
Jarmusch discusses the actors with whom he has worked (Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker, and Roberto Benigni among them), the progression of his camera and editing techniques, his fascination with the co-existence of disparate and often opposing cultures, and his cult status as an independent movie director. He comes across as kind, modest, and attentive, with a warm sense of humor and an ever-glowing affection for and dedication to his art, and for all the small and marginalized aspects of the world.
Ludvig Hertzberg is a freelance film critic and a doctoral candidate in cinema studies at Stockholm University, Sweden.
Jim Jarmusch: Music, Words and Noise is the first book to examine the films of Jim Jarmusch from a sound-oriented perspective. Exploring the directorand#8217;s extensive back catalogue, including Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Down By Law (1986), Dead Man (1995), and Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), Sara Piazza identifies three acoustic elements that structure the films: music, word, and noise. Piazzaand#8217;s unique reading reveals how Jarmusch created a form of and#8220;sound democracyand#8221; in film, in which sound is not subordinate to the visual. In his melting-pot method sound and word, high and low culture can co-exist: Schubert and Japanese noise-bands, Marlowe and Betty Boop can be heard side-by-side. Piazza also identifies techniques from pre-sound-era film in Jarmuschand#8217;s work.
Using examples from music, cinema, and literature, Piazza investigates how the directorand#8217;s reputation as an and#8220;indie iconand#8221; evolved over the course of a thirty-year career. Based in New York, Jarmusch was able to develop a fiercely personal vision far from the commercial pressures of Hollywood.
An innovative account of a distinctive and much-admired body of work, Jim Jarmusch will appeal not only to the many fans of the director, but also all those interested in film techniques and film-making in general.
Jim Jarmusch: Music, Words and Noise is the first book to examine the films of Jim Jarmusch from a sound-oriented perspective. The three essential acoustic elements that structure a filmandmdash; music, words and noiseandmdash;propel this bookandrsquo;s fascinating journey through his work. Exploring the directorandrsquo;s extensive back catalogue, including Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, Dead Man, and Only Lovers Left Alive, Sara Piazzaandrsquo;s unique reading reveals how Jarmusch created a form of andldquo;sound democracyandrdquo; in film, in which all acoustic layers are capable of infiltrating each other and in which sound is not subordinate to the visual. In his cultural melting pot, hierarchies are irrelevant: Schubert and Japanese noise-bands, Marlowe and Betty Boop, can coexist easily side-by-side. Developing the innovative idea of a andldquo;silent-sound film,andrdquo; Piazza identifies prefiguring elements from pre-sound-era film in Jarmuschandrsquo;s work.
Highlighting the importance of Jarmuschandrsquo;s treatment of sound, Piazza investigates how the directorandrsquo;s distinctive reputation consolidated itself over the course of a thirty-year career. Based in New York, Jarmusch was able to develop a fiercely personal vision far from the commercial pressures of Hollywood. The book uses wide-ranging examples from music, film, literature, and visual art, and features interviews with many prominent figures, including Ennio Morricone, Luc Sante, Roberto Benigni, John Lurie, and Jarmusch himself.
An innovative account of a much-admired body of work, Jim Jarmusch will appeal not only to the many fans of the director but all those interested in the connections between sound and film.
Collected interviews with the American independent film director of Permanent Vacation, Stranger Than Paradise, and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
About the Author
Sara Piazza is an independent writer, radio journalist, documentary film producer, and interpreter based in Berlin.
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