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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
Jean-Michel Basquiat was present while they were shooting the scenes in the apartment, sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. See more »
When Leila is sitting at the window, the number and position of items on the windowsill change. See more »
Where have you been? I haven't seen you since Thursday.
Walking, just walking around. I can't seem to sleep at night, not in this city.
Doesn't seem like you sleep at all.
Well, I have my dreams while I'm awake.
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This film which is, as far as I know, the first one by Jarmusch, when he still studied to become a film director, is original in its way to reinstall 'realism' somebody would say 'surrealism' into film art. He tries to make us understand a special psychological type of our time, a 'tourist in life' on 'permanent vacation'. People having decided to follow that life strategy don't engage themselves in anything or anyone. They just do what they 'feel like', not caring about what that means to others. Others are not really human. They are looked upon as a tourist might look upon an exotic and alien tribe.
However, they themselves also feel alienated and estranged, indeed. Why engage in anything? The home where I was born was bombed out 'by the Chinese', my mother is crazy, my father is dead, and there is no hope for the future.
Jarmusch is convincing in his description of this psychological type which might be typical of our time. It might be a descripton of himself. But that is not what makes the film original. It is rather the way he succeeds in making that description.
Already in this film he uses stationary cameras with horizontal, and sometimes vertical, views, and depicts the world, as exemplified by New York City, as ugly as it is to all of us, if we do not embellish it.
What Jarmusch has to tell might be banal to some but it is certainly something that exists and is quite difficult to make understandable to us. Exactly like the opinion of the main character. But I think he has been successful in mediating such an understanding to us who have chosen a different life strategy.
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