PATERSON was an intimate portrayal of two small town dreamers’ lives in the suburban town of Paterson, New Jersey. One is a bus driver by day – poet by night, played gorgeously by Adam Driver, and the other is his baker by day – fashion designer/musician/artist by night wife, played charismatically by Golshifeh Farahani. The characters both have great talent and passion, so it is bittersweet to watch them display extraordinary creativity limited within the confines of routine, ordinary lives. While Paterson’s outlook is content, finding fulfillment in the privacy of his poetry, his wife’s personality is more ambitious. His contentment in remaining unknown and leaving his talents undiscovered juxtaposes her desire to share her artistry with the world. Throughout the film, mentions of famous poets, actors, musicians, and artists who have hailed from Paterson, NJ provide an underscoring reminder that one can leave a lasting impact from the small town if they work hard to pursue acclaim – a fate that our protagonist likely will not.
For me, there were two particularly beautifully melancholy moments in the film… First, when the protagonist (Driver) encounters a Japanese tourist at Paterson Falls, the location depicted in the epic poem “Paterson,” by William Carlos Williams. In this scene, audiences recognize that our poet could have worldwide fame and publish works of great literary import, yet it is unclear if he has those aspirations or motivation. The Japanese tourist gives him a new notebook, ushering a moment of hope that perhaps more is in store for our poet in the future. The other poignant scene for me, was when Driver hears original poetry written by a young girl, while on his way to work one day. Her poem is aptly titled “Water Falls,” capturing the elegance and simplicity of the water of Paterson Falls. There is hope in her eyes, and we are left with a sense that a bright future lies ahead for this young girl… It becomes apparent that such a future is not likely to be in the cards for the working class poet we’ve come to know.
Thanks to Cinespia partnering with Amazon Studios, the film premiere was a fantastic night. The historic Vista Theater is gorgeous and manifests “old Hollywood.” The stars were in attendance – as well as writer/director Jim Jarmusch, who introduced the film. And the after party at local Silverlake Mexican restaurant Malo paid tribute to the film’s black and white visual theme, as well as the device of the use of twins laced through the film. There was a photo booth, a live poet station, and even the starring dog of the film made an appearance! It was an artistic evening with depth, and a little fun!
Enjoy the film preview.
One thought on “Poetry in PATERSON”
I enjoyed reading your review. For me this is a whimsical essay into the ordinariness of human existence. As I say in my own review: It is devoid of regular cinematic artifice and feels like we have momentarily glimpsed into the inner space of a true gentle soul and can walk away the better for it. Glad you liked it too.