David Strat­ton

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film Reviews -

Who would have thought that a film about a week in the life of a bus driver and part-time poet named Pater­son, who lives in Pater­son, New Jer­sey, would be one of movie high­lights of the year? In his new film, in­de­pen­dent Amer­i­can direc­tor Jim Jar­musch re­turns to the kind of min­i­mal­ist work with which he made his name 30 years ago — films such as (1984), Down by Law (1986) and (1989). Pater­son is a film in which con­ven­tional nar­ra­tive is shunted aside in favour of de­tailed char­ac­ter ob­ser­va­tion; noth­ing “hap­pens”, in a tra­di­tional sense, yet ev­ery­thing hap­pens.

Pater­son, beau­ti­fully played by Adam Driver, lives in a small sub­ur­ban house with his girl­friend Laura (the ra­di­ant, Ira­nian-born Gol­shifteh Fara­hani) and their English bull­dog, Marvin. Ev­ery morn­ing (the film is di­vided into chap­ters named af­ter the days of the week) Pater­son wakes up soon af­ter six, has break­fast — al­ways the same ce­real — and walks with his metal lunch box to the bus de­pot. Ev­ery morn­ing he has an ex­change with the dole­ful Donny (Rizwan Manji), the In­dian de­pot man­ager, who never fails to moan about the se­ries of dis­as­ters that have be­fallen him. Dur­ing the day, Pater­son over­hears the con­ver­sa­tions of his pas­sen­gers — men talk about girls, a cou­ple of boys talk about boxer Ru­bin “Hur­ri­cane” Carter, and so on — while he com­poses po­ems (that ap­pear in writ­ten text on the screen), all of which are ba­si­cally love son­nets to Laura.

Laura, mean­while, stays at home, dec­o­rat­ing the house in her favoured black and white geo­met­ric pat­terns while plan­ning to be­come a singer like Patsy Cline — she or­ders a black and white gui­tar — and pre­par­ing food for din­ner (one star­tling recipe she serves com­bines Pater­son’s favourites, ched­dar cheese and brus­sels sprouts, in a pie). To­wards the end of the week she bakes cup­cakes topped with black and white ic­ing to sell at the lo­cal mar­ket.

Ev­ery day Pater­son, who writes his po­ems in a note­book that, de­spite Laura’s en­treaties, he never quite gets around to copy­ing, takes Marvin for a walk and stops off at a bar where most of the cus­tomers are African Amer­i­cans. Here he chats with Doc (Barry Shabaka Hen­ley), the bar owner, who re­fuses to have a tele­vi­sion but has a Pater­son Hall of Fame dis­play on his wall, which in­cludes beat poet Allen Gins­berg and comic ac­tor Lou Costello (the lat­ter seems to be Pater­son’s most fa­mous son; at one stage Pater­son drives past the Lou Costello pub­lic park). This daily rou­tine, ex­cept for week­ends, is punc­tu­ated by un­ex­pected en­coun­ters and in­ci­dents.

Pater­son meets a lit­tle girl who turns out to be a poet and who shares Pater­son’s ad­mi­ra­tion for Emily Dickinson; he also meets a Ja­panese tourist (Masatoshi Na­gase) who, like Pater­son, is an ad­mirer of Pater­son poet Wil­liam Car­los Wil­liams; on Fri­day, the bus breaks down, but it’s no big deal.

In the bar there’s a con­flict between Everett (Wil­liam Jack­son Harper) and his for­mer girl­friend Marie (Chas­ten Harmon), who wants no more to do with him. Th­ese are only di­gres- Pater­son (M) Lim­ited na­tional re­lease from Mon­day Ros­alie Blum (M) Lim­ited na­tional re­lease from Mon­day

Masatoshishi Na­gasNa­gas­ese and Adam Driver in n Pater­son;on;PaPater­son Noemie oemie Lvovsky in n Ros­alie Blum m, be­low

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.