Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cannes Conversation: Jarmusch Edition

This review of Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive makes it sound just about exactly as good as I hoped it would be. (Playlist)
From the very first opening titles, written in a Germanic font that immediately conjures everything from “Triumph of the Will” to images of big-busted ladies screaming in campy close-up in 1970s cheapie horrors (it may be the only time in Cannes that a film got a big laugh for a typeface) it’s perfectly clear that the Jim Jarmusch in whose company we’re about to spend a couple of hours is not the wilfully obscure surrealist of “The Limits of Control,” nor the considered, melancholic philosopher behind “Dead Man,” nor even the oddball ragtag troubadour of “Down By Law." In fact, “Only Lovers Left Alive,” Jarmusch’s take on the vampire myth starring recent muse Tilda Swinton and Tom “fast becoming everyone’s favorite actor” Hiddleston, finds the maverick filmmaker on playful, referential and mischievous form with hugely enjoyable, if not exactly weighty or important, results. It’s an offbeat, fun, and frequently very funny film, lifted out of disposability by some wonderfully rich production design, music cuts and photography, and by the cherishable performances of the leads. It’s also, bearing in mind the director’s recent output, by far the most accessible film he’s made in a while, albeit still a tad on the languid side for many, with its genre roots allowing the director to give full rein to his inherent weirdness within a comprehensible context, thereby not necessarily losing half the audience in befuddlement.

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