Monthly Feature

The Films of Jim Jarmusch


There’s no one in independent film quite like Jim Jarmusch, one of American cinema’s most idiosyncratic filmmakers. Born to Episcopalian parents in Ohio in 1953, the director fell in love with B-movie double features as a child, and fell into counter-culture arthouse movies in his teens. The director studied Journalism at Northwestern before dropping out and studying literature at Columbia, moving to Paris for ten months and then returning and applying to the film school at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he worked under legendary director Nicholas Ray (Rebel without a Cause), who encouraged the young filmmaker’s unique vision.

“If anyone tells you there is only one way – their way – get as far away from them as possible, both physically and philosophically.” – Jim Jarmusch

Jarmusch is a sort of perennial outsider: at 15 his hair turned grey, which his friend and collaborator Tom Waits thinks made him “an immigrant in the teenage world. He’s been an immigrant — a benign, fascinated foreigner — ever since. And all his films are about that.” And it’s not hard to see Waits’ point — from his early ‘80s breakthrough film Stranger Than Paradise to his more recent star-laden films like Only Lovers Left Alive, Jarmusch has combined a deadpan comic sensibility, a mastery of restrained technique, and a deep sympathy for society’s misfits (not to mention a connoisseur’s appreciation for the highs and lows of art and pop culture, encompassing everything from Elvis Presley to William Blake) into a highly distinctive style that’s never quite given him huge mainstream success, but that’s made him a beloved, forever cool icon of American independent cinema. This September, The Loft Cinema proudly presents five early classics from the offbeat auteur, Jim Jarmusch.