Rituals Paterson Rituals

The Red Wheelbarrow*
(William Carlos Williams, 1883 – 1963)

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.


Jim Jarmusch
used William Carlos Williams as his muse for the movie Paterson. And if you’re going to see a movie without any action, based on poetry, one would think you would not want to take a rugged retired fireman.

But wait!

Jarmusch would say that’s exactly who would appreciate such a film, just as the main character-Adam Driver-is the bus driver poet, why couldn’t there be the fireman poet? And in fact, didn’t Guy Montag, the main character and fireman in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, have such poetic leanings, ‘her dress was white and it whispered’?

Perhaps a firemen would alter WCW’s poem to:

The Red Firetruck
(ghost written by Roxanne Baker 1963-)

so much depends
on a red
fire truck

blackened by smokey
soot

beside the white
two story.

Paterson was an ode to the poet in us all, and in this movie, everyone is a poet: a laundry mat rapper, a 10 year old girl, a Japanese tourist. The film could also be seen as an ode to director Chantal Ackerman, specifically her film Jeanne Dielman, an epic film where the housewife goes through everyday routines repeatedly.

The habits of Adam Driver and his girlfriend made me miss the predictability of coupledom and paradoxically, made me glad I have the freedom as a single gal to do whatever the heck I want. The fact that Jim Jarmusch can evoke opposing emotions is a feat unto itself.

His eye for art is also appealing, and in this film black and white patterns fill the home courtesy of actress Golshifteh Farahani, the unemployed, but dream filled love interest. Their pug, in his gloriously bored expressions, mirror the mundane life most of us live. The most fun aspects of our lives are the tiny surprises that interrupt the predictability of the rest of our lives. For instance, when you meet someone on a bridge walk and end up going to a movie.

Thought provoking messages about yin and yang, and the idea that the world eventually gives us what we need, also supplied and required reflection. The shadow within every person was found in a talented poet beaten down by the drudgery, the shadow in every relationship in an unrequited love affair, or the shadow in many life moments as two guys on Paterson’s bus share similar stories of the promise of a dating opps, only to let them slip away. The world giving us what we need was seen in a bar incident on the verge of violence and a gift of an empty notebook.

Paterson doesn’t hold it’s power in action, but in its ability to make you ponder. The film’s equally enjoyable for poetry fans and for the dreamer in us all.

*1985 Ft. Lauderdale

Certain Women: Beginning, Middle and En-?

I thought I was a big fan of Kelly Reichardt, yet after looking at her IMDB page, I realize this is a false claim based on only 3 films: her BEGINNING film “River of Grass” (looking to buy this, it’s a keeper, will explain below), her MIDDLE film “Wendy and Lucy” and her latest (EN-?), “Certain Women” last night at Burns Court in Sarasota.

First, her first:) RIVER OF GRASS is bar none, the penultimate Florida film. It’s funny, subversive and is so right on with the kookiness of all that Florida is, that I honestly don’t think any other movie could top it. Why it didn’t gain traction for a re-do with bigger celebrities and bigger budget is beyond me. In fact, it’s so timeless, it could be re-done today. It’s what Caddy Shack is to golf courses.

Her middle film, WENDY AND LUCY was very different. Akin to an uninhibited middle schooler (aka RIVER OF GRASS)
[or me at 52 after a large coffee on email..sometimes stepping over the (tacitly marked) line…]
who takes a high schooler nose dive into moody introspection, came her middle film WENDY AND LUCY. I don’t think I fully appreciated this quiet descent at the time, but looking back, the film had a memorable milieu and considering how many films I’ve seen, is saying something. And for dog lovers, which I am not, I’m sure it would resonate more. In addition, Michelle Williams, a terrific actress, was stellar as a homeless person.

The latest Reichardt invention CERTAIN WOMEN (screenplay/director based on stories by Maile Meloy) was even more quiet than “Wendy and Lucy”‘s Malick-like quiet mixed with Ackerman’s redundancy: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9C07E0DA143BF930A15750C0A965948260.

I didn’t mind this either, especially after a very chatty work day; my only need was a satisfying ending. But as Jimmy Olsen once lamented in an old Superman episode, “Oh, nobody got the money.”

Once again, Michelle Williams does fantastic work (biased here of course, loved her in Blue Valentine, and saw her live on Broadway with Jeff Daniels in “Blackbird”). Williams’ range and evocative facial expressions is of DeCaprio’s Revenant caliber. Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart were equally great as a miserable small town lawyers, and a relative newbie, Lily Gladstone was tremendous as a ranch hand.

I can’t say who didn’t get the money to be true to my no spoilers. If you need quiet, love Montana and great cinematography, you will be cinematically nourished. For me, once I finish the novel Nicotine by Nell Zink, Truman’s bio by McCullough, I may hunt down Maile Meloy’s short stories to see if there’s more to be mined.