Destination Unknown: Travelling in the Films of Jim Jarmusch

Getting characters from here to there physically and emotionally.

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Getting characters from here to there physically and emotionally.

If you’re a character in a film by Jim Jarmusch, chances are you’re going somewhere, even if you don’t know where. Nearly every title in the director’s filmography is about a journey, either physical, emotional, or both, whether it’s William Blake moving nervously through the wild west and his own masculinity, Ghost Dog navigating modern culture with an old-world mindset, or Don Johnston trekking across America on a trip through romantic memory. Jarmusch’s characters are people in transition, people at crossroads, people on their way to becoming, or unbecoming, what and who they really are.

There are many ways such journeys can be related visually, but Jarmusch, ever the economist, likes to employ the literal: characters travelling through the frame, the narrative, or the world of the film. To prove the point, check out the latest video from Semen Ryabuha in which the various instances of travel in Jarmusch films have been collected and compiled into a journey through the themes of the director’s work.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist