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Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

R | | Comedy, Drama | October 1984 (UK)
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A New Yorker's life is thrown into a tailspin when his younger cousin surprise visits him, starting a strange, unpredictable adventure.

Director:

Jim Jarmusch

Writer:

Jim Jarmusch
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3,977 ( 782)
8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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In a vignette called "Strange to meet you," Roberto sits at a small table in a coffee bar. Five cups of coffee and two ashtrays are in front of him; he drinks and smokes. Steven joins him. ... See full summary »

Director: Jim Jarmusch
Stars: Roberto Benigni, Steven Wright
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Lurie ... Willie
Eszter Balint ... Eva
Richard Edson ... Eddie
Cecillia Stark Cecillia Stark ... Aunt Lotte
Danny Rosen Danny Rosen ... Billy
Rammellzee Rammellzee ... Man with Money
Tom DiCillo ... Airline Agent
Richard Boes Richard Boes ... Factory Worker
Rockets Redglare Rockets Redglare ... Poker Player
Harvey Perr Harvey Perr ... Poker Player
Brian J. Burchill Brian J. Burchill ... Poker Player
Sara Driver ... Girl with Hat
Paul Sloane Paul Sloane ... Motel Owner
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Storyline

A self-styled New York hipster is paid a surprise visit by his younger cousin from Budapest. From initial hostility and indifference a small degree of affection grows between the two. Along with a friend, they eventually end up visiting their aunt in the wastelands of Cleveland and then proceed to Florida where they lose all their money gambling before unwittingly gaining a fortune. Written by J.Arnold Free <arnold@mayahtt.ca> and Brian McInnis

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English | Hungarian | Italian

Release Date:

October 1984 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Extraños en el paraíso See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,436,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

During the first shot of the motel room in Florida, a boom mic can be seen in the reflection on a window between the curtains. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Willie: Yeah.
Aunt Lotte: [speaks indistinctly in Hungarian]
Willie: Oh, hello, Aunt Lotte.
Aunt Lotte: [replies indistinctly in Hungarian throughout conversation]
Willie: Don't speak to me in Hungarian, please. No, I haven't heard from him, not for ten years. Yeah, I got your letter. Speak English, please! Yeah, my little cousin Eva. Yeah, I know, she's come - coming here and she's gonna stay overnight, when's she coming? Today? Straight from Budapest today? Ah, no. No, I never agreed to that. I can't possibly babysit for her for...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bottle Rocket (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

I Put a Spell on You
Written by Screamin' Jay Hawkins (as Jay Hawkins)
Used by permission of CBS Unart Catalog, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Performed by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Courtesy of CBS Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Neat little formal exercise
4 March 2002 | by Pete-230See all my reviews

Watched for the second time the other night, and was struck how formal this really is. Every scene is a single take, some static, some with very stylized camera movement (static shot up the street to an approaching car; pick up car and track it as it passes, static again as it drives off). Occasionally an actor wanders off screen to the right, despite the camera trying to keep up; just this slight effect, surrounded as it is by so much silence and stillness, is enough to produce a slight frisson of tension. Blackouts separate the scenes, but either ambient sound or music cues continue as transitions during the cuts.

The main characters' costumes underline their alienation from the world around them. Judging from the props & surroundings, film seems to be set in contemporary (early-1980s) time. Willie and Eddie dress and act like late-Fifties/early-Sixties racetrack touts, and they seem most at ease in the retro living room of Aunt Lotte, who presumably left Hungary during that period. Eva's costumes likewise proclaim 'outsider,' though the dreary black she wears can signify either a refugee from East Europe or a jaded bohemian poseur.

First viewing a number of years back, I thought the film was offhanded and casual, with not much going on. A second viewing changed my mind - the absolute minimalism of the plot and dialogue leave plenty of space to explore Jarmusch's technique, composition, etc. It made me laugh out loud a couple of times, too.


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