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In downtown Manhattan, a twenty-something boy ('Chris Parker')whose Father is not around and whose Mother is institutionalized, is a big Charlie Parker fan. He almost subconsciously searches for more meaning in his life and meets a few characters along the way. Written by
The book Allie gives Leila is "Maldoror and Poems" by Lautreamont (Penguin Classics 1978), one of the earliest surrealist stories. See more »
The bed coverings are rearranged between shots in the apartment. See more »
Some people, you know, they - they can distract themselves with ambitions and motivation to work, you know, but not me... They think people like myself are crazy, you know. Everyone does because of the way I live, you know.
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Jim Jarmusch's first film, "Permanent Vacation", although not generally a very loved picture, has gained a bit of a cult status, being one of the most popular, if not the most popular, example of No Wave Cinema, a small underground movement born in New York during the eighties that was closely associated to No Wave music (which was, by definition, counter-New Wave).
The movie depicts a strange young boy who for the most part of the story drifts along the desolated valleys of New York, encountering, oddly, almost always schizophrenics (including his mother, who is visited by our man in the mental institution she's in) or simply abnormal individuals. Actually, we find out this drifting of his is not completely purposeless: he plans to leave New York, so these wanderings can be translated as a sort of farewell to the city's madness.
Jarmusch was practically a kid when he made this movie, and, in many parts, it's pretty evident. There are some beautiful scenes, that thanks to the strange score create a very unique atmosphere, and consequently they end up being quite absorbing. These moments sadly are very rare: while the theme of aimless meandering can be interesting and easily portrayed artfully, as it has been done many times before in cinema, here the over-explaining kills the mystery of it. There is a voice-over in the beginning of the film that just doesn't fit, and, although this is a movie with relatively few words being said, whatever is being said is somewhat boring and pointless.
Jarmusch with "Permanent Vacation" has proved a good deal of sophistication in terms of atmosphere creation, a quality the director later on mastered impeccably like no other film- maker of his generation. But his writing here is the biggest fault for the movie's mediocrity.
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