Stranger Than Paradise

Stranger Than Paradise

DVD - 2007 | Director-approved special ed. double-disc set
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Willie, a disenchanted loner, is visited by his sixteen-year old Hungarian cousin Eva. Willie's equally slacker best friend Eddie also meets Eva, and the three become loose friends, until Eva decides to leave to visit Willie and Eva's Aunt Lottie in Cleveland. After a while Willie and Eddie are surprised to find that they miss Eva's companionship and take off for Cleveland in an old car. Finding Cleveland in winter to be disappointingly cold and unattractive, the three leave Cleveland for sunny Florida, landing there in off-season. Accidental involvement in a drug deal provides some unsuspected good fortune until it becomes time for Eva to go back home to Hungary.
Publisher: [New York] : Criterion Collection, [2007]
Edition: Director-approved special ed. double-disc set
ISBN: 9781934121566
1934121568
Branch Call Number: DVD ADULT
Characteristics: video file,DVD video,Region 1
NTSC
digital,optical,mono,Dolby digital
2 videodiscs (89 min.) : sound and black and white ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet (44 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm.)
Alternative Title: Permanent vacation

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When this film came out in 1984 I was an undergraduate. Everyone went to see it. So did I. I liked the snowy urban Cleveland scenes, which, recently having seen STRANGER THAN PARADISE again after more than 30 years, appear to have loomed much larger in my memory than they do in the actual picture. The big takeaway for me now is that what Jarmusch was doing was basically documenting the No Wave vibe (excellently captured in Thurston Moore's book with Byron Coley, NO WAVE: POST-PUNK. UNDERGROUND. NEW YORK. 1976–1980) of young people living in the detritus of white flight inner city America like sparrows flying about the skeletal rib bones of beached whales. Now that white flight has reversed itself and the urban core is once again the favored location of corporate America (see downtown Seattle north of Westlake Center and/or read Rebecca Solnit's November 2016 Harper's essay, "Coming Apart"), the images from STRANGER THAN PARADISE are like seeing moving pictures of the great auk or dodo -- flightless birds now extinct.

PimaLib_JudyM Jul 05, 2016

Classic Jim Jarmusch. I hadn't seen this in a couple of decades and wondered how it would hold up. Not for the action, blow 'em up type of movie fans... It is slow and the plot is given time to develop. At first it seems like not much is happening, but this movie really is about moments. Still holds up in my book.

l
lukasevansherman
Jun 06, 2014

A milestone of independent cinema, Jarmusch's second film "Stranger Than Paradise" came out of the 70s maverick directors movement, but he imbued it with his idiosyncratic, deadpan tone, humor, and NYC cool. Although it's a road movie, it may be the most uneventful one in movie history. I prefer "Down by Law," but this is a keystone in the indie wave that would really crest in the 90s. This Criterion 2-disc set also includes his little seen first film from 1980, "Permanent Vacation." Although he's as identified with NYC as Lou Reed or Martin Scorsese, his films usually take place somewhere else and I think this is his sole feature to take place entirely in the city. It's a very low-budget, amateurish affair that is notable for the genesis of his style and themes, which are recognizable, but undeveloped. It is maybe most interesting as a glimpse of a gritty, dirty, impoverished NYC c. the late 70s. John Lurie, who would have a long association with Jarmusch, has a small role, as does the dude who played Burrell on "The Wire." Also, check out "Fishing with John" and "She's Gotta Have It."

tkwu21 Mar 03, 2014

There hasn't been many American films done with this type saddist/minimalist tone. It seemed almost like a European film in English. This is the absolute opposite of what the studios of Hollywood tried to make America into: a glamourous and extravagant life style. Unfortunately there are a lot of parts of America that have the same feeling of hopelessness as portrayed in the film. Even spring break state Florida was made sad. A very good reminder of the stakes of pursuing the American dream.

m
Michael
Mar 08, 2012

Fans of "No Wave Cinema"/"Cinema of Transgression" are going to hate me for this - because this is considered a classic film of those late 70's-early 80's genres... But, here goes, anyway: If you like boring ridiculous stories - about 3 boring ridiculous people... trapped in very boring ridiculous lives... yeah... it's a minimalist wonder... But this ain't pre-Reagan Lower Eastside, New York... and if you're like most people today who take in a film - to be entertained or enlightened - this flick will make you want to bounce off the walls - if not before it ends - then most certainly, at its ending! Hmmm... come to think of it - by "Cinema of Transgressions" standards - I guess that would make this movie a success! It really sticks in the craw of upper-middle class North America! (And as an aside... lol... that ending? Serves them all right for being such goofs!!!) ...p.s. If you end up liking this movie - then rush out and rent BLANK CITY - the really excellent semi-documentary film that truly captures this fascinating era in American cinema - the grand-daddy of today's Indie films. At least that film knows how to engage its audience - and hold it!

m
mattblais
Nov 06, 2011

a minimalistic masterpiece

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