Aloof teenage Japanese tourists, a frazzled Italian widow, and a disgruntled British immigrant all converge in the city of dreams—which, in Mystery Train, from Jim Jarmusch, is Memphis. Made with its director’s customary precision and wit, this triptych of stories pays playful tribute to the home of Stax Records, Sun Studio, Graceland, Carl Perkins, and, of course, the King, who presides over the film like a spirit. Mystery Train is one of Jarmusch’s very best movies, a boozy and beautiful pilgrimage to an iconic American ghost town and a paean to the music it gave the world. –The Criterion Collection
With his trademark shock of white hair and ultra-cool rock star persona, Jim Jarmusch is the archetypal auteur of American independent film. Born on January 22, 1953, in Akron, OH, Jarmusch was the son of a former film critic for the Akron Beacon Journal. In University, he went to Paris as an exchange student and spend most of his time at the Parisian Cinemas. Upon his return to New York, Jarmusch transferred to Columbia University, where, though he eventually received a degree in English literature. With no film experience, he was accepted into New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and soon found himself a teaching assistant to legendary maverick filmmaker Nicholas Ray. Ray helped him get funding for his thesis project, Permanent Vacation (1980). Though the film was later released to critical acclaim, his professors were underwhelmed by his final project and Jarmusch never got a degree from N.Y.U.
Jarmusch’s break came with his next film; the 30-minute short eventually… read more
An indelible piece of cinema. I love the Japanese couple and their sheer awe at everything that is America. Jarmusch is one of those directors who can strip a film down to its essentials but at the same time pack it full of cool details. Gotta' love his beautiful tracking shots, too. God, the cinematography! BEAUTIFUL! And a great soundtrack of course. One of my new favorites.
Ishii’s savage slapstick satire subjects a family to reversion to savagery, suburban style.
Reverse Shot editors Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert introduce "the third installment of our unofficial symposium series that began with