It’s hard to credit but cult director and screenwriter Jim Jarmusch is an unbelievable seventy years old today. He’s a multi-hyphenate product of the Seventies downtown New York scene and his films epitomise the term cool, straddling indie, avant garde and arthouse. An exponent of the road movie, his approach to filmmaking is musical or even tonal, with a droll minimalist approach similar to that of Melville, whose Le samourai he has referenced on several occasions. Appropriately, he’s a bit of a rock star director even if his hipster fame is limited and he often recruits musicians to appear in his work. This instantly recognisable auteur belongs to that niche society, Sons of Lee Marvin. We think we can see why. Many happy returns!
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.
Jim Jarmusch’s Golden Rules – #5, originally published in MovieMaker magazine 22 January 2004