Tuesday, June 22, 2010


“Rather than finding a story that I want to tell and than adding the details, I collect the details and then try to construct a puzzle or a story.”
– Jim Jarsmusch (sounds like Godard!!!)

This is my second Jim Jarsmusch film after ‘Dead Man’ and this is another indescribable experience for me to put in words. It seems that he’s preoccupied with the theme of ‘Death’; this time as ‘a way of samurai’. A professional killer and solitary outsider, who left no trace of his work, follows his tasks and contracts religiously sticking to codes of samurai, he has neither friends nor any sort of emotional tie up with anyone. He lives in a shack on the roof of the building and uses pigeons to communicate with his contracts in the world full of internet and cell phone.

Forrest Whitaker looks and performs with utmost nuances the most enigmatic character of his life; as formidable adversary as a big bear. It would be hard to replace him here with any other actor. I like the scene where dog is staring at him followed up by a smart neighborhood girl sitting on a bench asking him some personal questions curiously. It’s a prop scene used to know us a mysterious and stranger than fiction personality of Ghost Dog; though it tells few things about what he likes- choco ice cream, a game of chess and most significantly the books.

Attitude of the lead character towards life is perhaps the thematic parameter of Jarsmusch’s independent style. He paid his homage to Kurosawa’s ‘Rashoman’ in the film itself and another clear one is Jean Pierre Melville’s brilliant French classic ‘Le Samourai’. Though both of films are nuggets of world cinema, Jarsmusch marked his independent impression as an auteur giving it new disciplined height. One can watch influence in his films ranging from French New wave films to minimalist cinema of Japanese filmmakers in this film. Another great thing to notice is the portrayal of Multiculturalism prevalent in American great salad bowl society.

Music is another integral part of Jarsmusch cinema. Neil young’s solo guitar used so wonderfully in ‘Dead Man’; here too RZA’s hip hop soundtrack creates a different mood for the film from the beginning flight of a pigeon or when Whitaker is practicing sword on terrace. Camera work is extraordinary and while reading all those brilliant underpinning philosophical codes followed throughout the film, I’m just so desperate to hunt for the copy of ‘Hagakure: The Book of Samurai.’

Must watch for anyone who loves literature and cinema from all corners of the world.


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