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Night on Earth

July 26, 2012

directed by Jim Jarmusch, 1991

Going off its synopsis, Night on Earth could appear as a familiar exercise; one that seems plagued by routine predictability. Jarmusch isn’t doing a ton different in this charming multilingual portrait of disconnect and proximity to set it apart from other films of the same approach, but there’s a certain awareness at work that Jarmusch effortlessly captures. Five cities. Five taxicabs. Each are conduits into the possibility of the night, a period where surprises, delight, and soft tragedy are aplenty — communication or disconnect depends solely on the driver and his or her particular fare. The film is a series of non-related vignettes, each thriving of their respective off-kilter detours and surprises. Some are as simple as two women of different generations arriving at some fleeting moment of honesty amidst their running awkwardness together, Winona Ryder playing the chain-smoking Corky, and Gena Rowlands as a casual casting agent — their opening segment being the strongest of the five. There’s also Giancarlo Espositio and Armin Mueller-Stahl switching roles as cabbie and passenger as the former’s negligence behind the wheel is played for laughs. Jarmusch’s portrait of alienated souls scouring the dead of the night is frustrating and illuminating, humanistic and humorous.

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One comment

  1. […] Yards (Gray, ’99) 3. The Gaze (Kaul, ’91) 4. We Own the Night (Gray, ’07) 5. Night on Earth (Jarmusch, ’91) 6. Duvidha (Kaul, ’73) 7. Lockout (Mather & St. Leger, ’12) 8. The Last Days of […]



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