Strange how a year ago I wrote a post about today being William Shakespeare’s birthday and 400 years since he passed away. I also happened to mention a wonderful film by Jim Jarmusch, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, because Jarmusch featured the character Christopher Marlowe played by John Hurt as the writer of Shakespeare’s plays. And he was a vampire!
Kind of full circle, I’ve just watched another Jarmusch film (I’m a huge fan!), ‘Paterson’. What’s marvellous is that it’s a film about a poet, so on Shakespeare’s birthday, I think it’s timely to mention it.
Quiet, nuanced and understated, it spoke to me. Set in the New Jersey city of Paterson, the poet played by Adam Driver has the same name as his hometown, and goes about his days, earning a living as a bus driver, but writing poems whenever he can. The city was also home to one of Paterson’s favourite poets, William Carlos Williams, and where Allen Ginsburg was born. Such intertwined connections run throughout the film, which follows the arc of the days of the week, and at its heart, is a meditation on creativity, process, how the mundane can inspire, how small acts weave a wondrous tapestry of a life deeply felt, observed and interpreted. And the importance of love, reflected most in the relationship between Paterson and his wife played by Golshifteh Farahani. The support, understanding, tenderness and passion between the two beautifully underpinned the story. And when a pivotal act causes Paterson to question his ambition, serendipity and destiny comes into play.