The film calmly recounts the actually unspectacular experiences of Willie from New York, his Hungarian cousin Eva and Willie’s friend Eddie. The first part (The New World) is about Eva’s arrival in New York, the weeks she lives with her cousin and her departure for Cleveland, where she wants to visit her aunt. In the second part (One Year Later) Willie and Eddie visit her there. In the third part (Paradise) the three travel together to Florida.
Stranger Than Paradise is a film in which little is happening or talked about. The camera observes the protagonists from a distance. It is a film about being a stranger in a foreign country and adapting to it. About places that are actually all the same. About friendship and getting to know each other. About letting oneself drift, about luck and coincidences, which sometimes take you further and offer new possibilities. About travelling.
The American film critic Pauline Kael wrote about Stranger Than Paradise in 1987: “The images are so emptied out that Jarmusch makes you notice every tiny, grungy detail.” This aspect of circling around emptiness, the focusing of details and the film’s own stretching of time in Jarmusch’s work is linked to the work of Christian Haake in general and his exhibition at the GAK in particular. The latter includes the video work White Elephant – a cinematographic vision of infinite emptiness in a loop.
A film night to the exhibition “Christian Haake. White Elephant”.
Jim Jarmusch: Stranger Than Paradise, USA/BRD 1984, b/w, 85 min