Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stranger Than Paradise

A bohemian layabout and part-time conman (John Lurie) receives an uninvited visitor at his New York apartment in the form of his Hungarian cousin (Eszter Balint) who needs a place to crash for a few days before moving in with her aunt in Cleveland (whatup). After bonding and parting ways, he decides to pay her a visit with his like-minded buddy (Richard Edson) before making another detour to Florida, all a succession of uneventful incidents. Stranger Than Paradise was Jim Jarmusch's breakthrough picture and a landmark in independent filmmaking. It is presented as a series of carefully constructed still shots, filmed in gorgeously grainy black and white, that have the odd effect of captivating and drawing the audience in. The performers are all non-professional, generally likable, and Balint is kind of wondrous as the awkward outsider who seems to have better taste and style than her American counterparts.