This film put a spell on me!
I knew I’d love this film when I saw Willie telling his Hungarian mother to speak English instead of Hungarian.
Stranger Than Paradise is quite possibly the only film that I have ever seen where the screen literally becomes a window into somebody else’s life. The performance of the three leads seem very on-the-spot and cinema verite. It doesn’t even seem like a performance; it’s as if Jarmusch simply placed a camera and captured what was occurring with these people. The characters seem so real, aimless and often not explaining their actions or emotions. There is no noticeable character or narrative arc, and that lack of an arc simply reinforces the reality of life. What also helps with that, is the fact that each scene is shot in one take and there are no close-ups. The camera does not intrude. It does not bring attention to itself; it is almost invisible. Bravo to Tom DiCillo.
Stranger Than Paradise is perfectly executed. There is nothing I can fault it on. It is the meaning of cool. Kudos to Jim Jarmusch.
And how could anyone not love Screaming Jay Hawkins?