Seen at Cannes International Film Festival 2016

Format: Cinema

Release date: 25 November 2016

Distributor: Soda Pictures

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Writer: Jim Jarmusch

Cast: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani

USA, Germany, France 2016

118 mins

Paterson doesn’t give answers, yet it offers its fair share of wisdom.

Paterson (Adam Driver) is a dedicated bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey, born there, like his greatest hero, the poet William Carlos Williams, who himself wrote a book-length poem entitled ‘Paterson’. To mark out the setting so explicitly is important, as it ultimately blends into the plot of Paterson, the movie. The film shows one week in the life of our local hero as he gets up early to drive his bus around town, while observing his surroundings and listening to the passengers chatting. During his breaks, Paterson likes to write poetry in his notebook, and after work he volunteers to take his wife’s dog Marvin out for a walk, if only as an excuse to stop by for a beer at his local bar.

To say much more would take the beauty away from this wonderful, wondrous film, which proves once more that Jarmusch’s genius lies in capturing precisely the small moments and fine details that make life so special, no matter how trivial, or crazy, things may seem. One day Paterson’s bus breaks down, leaving him and his passengers stranded. Some days later at the bar a heartbroken actor attempts to shoot himself in front of his beloved ex-girlfriend, and everyone else around. However, whatever the problem, Paterson handles each situation with the same calm and unassuming authority that even allows him to forgive Marvin for shredding his notebook.

Naturally Paterson doesn’t give answers, yet it offers its fair share of wisdom. Paterson’s poetry, inspired by Williams, has the intention and the power to make people see the world in a new way – if we simply care to look and take note. And with his film, Jarmusch has pulled off an equally fine feat.

Pamela Jahn

This review is part of our Cannes 2016 coverage.

Watch the trailer: