Three By Jarmusch: Stranger Than Paradise

"It's a unique, indelible and hilarious film, and certainly one of the best of its era." - Combustible Celluloid

New York City layabout Willie (John Lurie) and his dopey sidekick, Eddie (Richard Edson), get by on TV dinners and beer financed by haphazard card-sharking. Willie gets an unwelcome visit from his Hungarian teen cousin, Eva (Eszter Balint), but, just as he warms to her, she ditches him for her aunt in Cleveland. Impulsively, Willie and Eddie take a road trip to pick up Eva, after which they head out to find fortune and paradise in Florida -- or at least alleviation from their constant boredom.

"'Stranger Than Paradise' is a treasure from one end to the other. I saw it for the first time at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, where it was having its first public showing. Half the people in the theater probably didn't speak English, but that didn't stop them from giving the movie a standing ovation, and it eventually won the Camera d'Or prize for the best first film. It is like no other film you've seen, and yet you feel right at home in it. It seems to be going nowhere, and knows every step it wants to make. It is a constant, almost kaleidoscopic experience of discovery, and we try to figure out what the film is up to and it just keeps moving steadfastly ahead, fade in, fade out, fade in, fade out, making a mountain out of a molehill." - Roger Ebert

"Daring in its conception but made with a watchmaker's care, 'Stranger Than Paradise' is a playfully eclectic, formally perfect gem. It is also a persistently funny film that owes as much to 'The Honeymooners' as it does to the avant-garde." - Washington Post

 

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