Art Is Easy (Movie Thoughts: Paterson)

paterson_ver2It would be easy to dismiss Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Paterson’ as a small movie about nothing. In fact, at some point while watching the film, I am as guilty of thinking the same.  The film chronicles Pateron, played by Adam Driver, and his daily routines: waking up, kissing his wife, getting on a bus to drive through the main street of the New Jersey town of Paterson, having lunch by the waterfalls, getting home, having a drink by the bar while he walks the dog. Rinse and repeat. But as the day goes on, you see that there is more than that. He writes poetry – sometimes while waiting to start driving, at other times while having lunch by the falls. He gets inspiration from ordinary things – a box of matches, conversations in the bar. We see a glimpse of his soul through these poems which float on the screen as he writes them. His wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani, of Iranian descent, and i hope she has not been victimized by the Trump travel ban) nags him to make copies of his poems. She sees potential in them, to him it is just an outlet of artistic expression. The subtleties here are magnificent, the simplicity grand. Stephen Sondheim says art isn’t easy, this film shows it can be, it can come natural, unforced. I found myself terribly touched by the message of the movie – how the small things we do may not make a big impact but maybe that’s not, or never will be the point. Like my daily writings here – perhaps no one else besides me will read this, and I am not going to pretend these are Pulitzer pieces. But writing these make me happy, they make me express my initial feelings about art – a movie I saw, a book I read. It doesn’t really matter, but it does.

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