Permanent Vacation: The Films of Jim Jarmusch

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Over the course of a single-minded yet constantly surprising career that has now spanned more than three decades, Jim Jarmusch has become a beloved, forever-cool icon of independent American (and world) cinema. His movies combine a romantic wanderlust, a sense of humor both humane and deadpan, and a connoisseur’s appreciation of the highs and lows of art and popular culture (Elvis Presley, Yasujiro Ozu, and William Blake, for starters). This complete retrospective—which includes 11 features and several shorts and music videos—leads up to the upcoming release of Jarmusch’s latest feature, Only Lovers Left Alive (a selection of the 2013 New York Film Festival, opening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on April 11). Jarmusch’s latest exquisite genre reinvention, the film is a paean to the pleasures of long-term relationships in the guise of a vampire movie. It also strikes a pitch-perfect balance of melancholy and joy, and celebrates art’s enduring power to re-invigorate one’s experience of the world—something that could be said of all the films in this retrospective.

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In This Series

Broken Flowers

Broken Flowers

Jim Jarmusch | 2005 | 35mm | 106 mins

Director of photography Fred Elmes in person for Q&A on April 6!

After receiving an unsigned letter informing him that he’s the father of a 19-year-old son, Bill Murray’s aging, lethargic lothario Don Johnston sets out on a tour through America to visit a series of five old flames. 

Screening with Int. Trailer. Night.

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Coffee and Cigarettes

Coffee and Cigarettes

Jim Jarmusch | 2003 | 35mm | 95 mins

The motley cast of this patchwork quilt of caffeine-fueled conversations, hangout sessions, and chance encounters includes Iggy Pop, Cate Blanchett, the Wu-Tang Clan, Steve Buscemi, and many more. 

Screening with The Garage Tapes (12m).

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Dead Man

Dead Man

Jim Jarmusch | 1995 | 35mm | 121 mins

Jarmusch’s masterpiece is a hypnotic Western about the spiritual rebirth of a dying 19th-century accountant (Johnny Depp) that doubles as a barbed reflection on America’s treatment of its indigenous people. 

Screening with Jarmusch's music video for Neil Young's "Dead Man Score" (5m).

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Down by Law

Down by Law

Jim Jarmusch | 1986 | 35mm | 107 mins

Three rebellious deadbeats (Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni) form an unlikely alliance when they land in the same New Orleans jail cell in this pitch-perfect and endlessly quotable comic odyssey. 

Screening with Jarmusch's music video for Tom Waits's "It’s Alright with Me" (5m).

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Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Jim Jarmusch | 1999 | 35mm | 116 mins

Forest Whitaker plays an impassive master killer who lives on a roof in an unnamed city, quotes generously from samurai manuals and communicates exclusively by carrier pigeon in Jarmusch’s revisionist genre film. 

Screening with Jarmusch's music video for Big Audio Dynamite's "Sightsee M.C." (5m).

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The Limits of Control

The Limits of Control

Jim Jarmusch | 2009 | 35mm | 116 mins

Introduction by actor Isaach de Bankole on April 6!

Jarmusch’s intoxicating thriller is a spy film gutted of action, a mystery that takes place almost entirely in the time between plot points, and a James Bond movie whose Bond hails from the Ivory Coast rather than Scotland. 

Screening with Jarmusch's music video for The Raconteurs' "Steady as She Goes" (4m).

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Mystery Train

Mystery Train

Jim Jarmusch | 1989 | 35mm | 110 mins

This small group portrait of misfits and foreigners adrift in the American South gives attention to the cultural memory of places and a sense of the way taste can both bring people together and keep them apart.

Screening with Joe Strummer – When Pigs Fly Score (30m).

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Night on Earth

Night on Earth

Jim Jarmusch | 1991 | 35mm | 128 mins

One of Jarmusch’s warmest films, Night on Earth veers from broad comedy to more sober territory with its set of five taxicab vignettes in L.A., New York, Paris, Rome, and Helsinki. 

Screening with Jarmusch's music video for Tom Waits's "I Don’t Wanna Grow Up" (3m).

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Permanent Vacation

Permanent Vacation

Jim Jarmusch | 1980 | 35mm | 75 mins

Jarmusch’s debut feature, 75 minutes of frayed downtown cool, is a touching vision of what it was like to be head over heels with art, love, and oneself in late-1970s New York. 

Screening with Jarmusch's music video for Talking Heads' "The Lady Don’t Mind" (4m).

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Stranger Than Paradise

Stranger Than Paradise

Jim Jarmusch | 1984 | HDCam | 89 mins

This low-budget, black-and-white portrait of three directionless young people—a detached New York hipster, his fedora’d best friend, and his 16-year-old Hungarian cousin—established Jarmusch as a major new talent. 

Screening with Jarmusch's music video for Talking Heads' "The Lady Don’t Mind" (4m).

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Year of the Horse

Year of the Horse

Jim Jarmusch | 1997 | 35mm | 106 mins

Jarmusch’s only documentary to date is a scrapbook of interviews, archival clips, and concert footage of Neil Young’s band Crazy Horse, shot over the course of their 1996 world tour.

Screening with Jarmusch's music video for Neil Young's "Big Time" (7m).

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