skip navigation
Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Broken Flowers DVD Bill Murray takes a comedic cross-country odyssey in "Broken Flowers" (2005). A... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai... There's no telling where a fully trained Samurai warrior will turn up. Forest... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

Down By Law: The Criterion Collection... One can find friends anywhere. In New Orleans, strangers Jack, a pimp, and Zack,... more info $16.99was $24.95 Buy Now

Stranger Than Paradise: The Criterion... Rootless Hungarian emigre Willie (John Lurie), his pal Eddie (Richard Edson),... more info $26.99was $39.95 Buy Now

Night On Earth: The Criterion Collection... Five cities. Five taxicabs. A multitude of strangers in the night. Jim Jarmusch... more info $26.99was $39.95 Buy Now

Mystery Train: The Criterion Collection... Aloof teenage Japanese tourists, a frazzled Italian widow, and a disgruntled... more info $26.99was $39.95 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 22, 1953 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Akron, Ohio, USA Profession: screenwriter, director, actor, composer, camera operator, sound recordist, cab driver, waiter, moving man, hydraulic drill-gun operator, factory welder, process server

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

From the time he emerged onto the film scene with "Stranger Than Paradise" (1984), writer-director Jim Jarmusch defined the true meaning of independent director. Though he decried being labeled as such, there was no doubt that his steadfast refusal to take Hollywood money in order to maintain creative and financial control over his films made him synonymous with the low-budget indie world. In hip, comic, minimalist films like "Down By Law" (1986) and "Mystery Train" (1989), Jarmusch explored the recurring theme of cultures colliding, typically by using outsiders from foreign countries to examine the cultural wasteland of post-modern America. Creating a visible persona by appearing as an actor in other indies - most notably "Blue in the Face" (1995) - only helped raise interest in Jarmusch by the refined intelligentsia he catered to. Though he occasionally perplexed critics and fans with some of his output, notably "Dead Man" (1995) and "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai' (2000), Jarmusch nonetheless retained his own identity - not to mention all the film negatives - even while touching upon more mainstream narratives like "Broken Flowers" (2005), making him a truly independent filmmaker. ...

From the time he emerged onto the film scene with "Stranger Than Paradise" (1984), writer-director Jim Jarmusch defined the true meaning of independent director. Though he decried being labeled as such, there was no doubt that his steadfast refusal to take Hollywood money in order to maintain creative and financial control over his films made him synonymous with the low-budget indie world. In hip, comic, minimalist films like "Down By Law" (1986) and "Mystery Train" (1989), Jarmusch explored the recurring theme of cultures colliding, typically by using outsiders from foreign countries to examine the cultural wasteland of post-modern America. Creating a visible persona by appearing as an actor in other indies - most notably "Blue in the Face" (1995) - only helped raise interest in Jarmusch by the refined intelligentsia he catered to. Though he occasionally perplexed critics and fans with some of his output, notably "Dead Man" (1995) and "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai' (2000), Jarmusch nonetheless retained his own identity - not to mention all the film negatives - even while touching upon more mainstream narratives like "Broken Flowers" (2005), making him a truly independent filmmaker.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

3.
  Broken Flowers (2005) Director
4.
  Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) Director
6.
  Year of the Horse, The (1997) Director
7.
  Dead Man (1995) Director
9.
  Night on Earth (1991) Director
10.
  Mystery Train (1989) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Blank City (2009)
6.
 Rockets Redglare! (2004) Himself
7.
 Divine Trash (1998)
8.
 Year of the Horse, The (1997) The Director
9.
 R.I.P. Rest In Pieces (1997) Himself
10.
 Sling Blade (1996) Dairy Queen Boy
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1979:
Worked as a production assistant on the epochal Nicholas Ray/Wim Wenders collaboration, "Lightning Over Water"
1980:
Provided sound recording for Eric Mitchell's "Underground USA"
1980:
Directed, wrote, edited, and composed the music for "Permanent Vacation", his first feature; Tom DiCillo served as director of photography; on its completion, Wenders gave him some leftover film stock which he used for part of "Stranger Than Paradise"
1980:
Wrote and directed the short "New World"
1982:
Worked as an actor in Lothar Lambert's West German feature "Fraulein Berlin"
1983:
Provided sound recording for "Burroughs", a documentary about the writer William S Burroughs
1984:
Directed, wrote, and edited the breakthrough feature "Stranger Than Paradise", an expanded version of his short film "New World"
1985:
Helmed the music video "The Lady Don't Mind" by Talking Heads
1986:
Worked as a camera operator on Sara Driver's "Sleepwalk"
1986:
Directed "Down By Law", starring Roberto Benigni, Tom Waits and John Lurie
1986:
Wrote and directed the first in a series of short films titled "Coffee and Cigarettes"; Benigni co-starred with Steven Wright
1988:
Wrote and directed the second "Coffee and Cigarettes: Memphis Version", featuring Steve Buscemi, Cinque Lee and Joie Lee
1989:
Won acclaim at Cannes for "Mystery Train"
1990:
Filmed his 1991 feature "Night on Earth" on location in Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Rome and Helsinki; project reteamed him with Benigni and Waits who composed music, as well as writing, producing and performing several songs
1990:
Helmed "It's Alright with Me", a music video of Waits' single
1992:
Reteamed with Waits as director of the music video for "I Don't Wanna Grow Up"
1993:
Made third short in the series, "Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere in California", featuring Tom Waits and Iggy Pop as themselves; received Cannes Palme d'Or for short films
1995:
Wrote and directed the revisionist "Dead Man", a hallucinatory black-and-white period Western starring Johnny Depp as a fugitive befriended by a Native American (Gary Farmer); Neil Young's haunting score greatly enhanced film's atmosphere; Jarmusch subsequently directed the videos for "Dead Man Theme" and for "Big Time", a track from Young's 1996 album "Broken Arrow"
1996:
Made cameo appearances in Billy Bob Thornton's feature directing debut, "Sling Blade", and Wayne Wang and Paul Auster's "Blue in the Face"
1997:
Helmed the Neil Young concert film "Year of the Horse"
1999:
Wrote and directed "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai", about a hit man who finds he's been double-crossed; film featured a highly-charged soundtrack by The RZA (of the Wu-Tang Clan) ; debuted in competition at Cannes
2004:
Wrote and directed "Coffee and Cigarettes," a comic series of 11 unconnected short vignettes built on one another to create a cumulative effect, and centered around various people chatting while sitting around sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes
2005:
Helmed the more mainstream film, "Broken Flowers," which stars Bill Murray and includes appearances by an array of actresses including Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone, Tilda Swinton and Frances Conroy
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Northwestern University: Chicago , Illinois -
Institute of Film and Television , New York University: New York , New York -
Cayahoga Falls High School: Cayahoga Falls , Ohio - 1971
Columbia University: New York , New York - 1975

Notes

"Independent filmmaking is a lot like gambling. I could make a lot more money by taking [Hollywood] directing jobs, or giving away control of my films and selling to the highest bidder. But if I'm putting up three years of my life and a lot of work, and you put up the money, we can split the profits, but I keep the negative." --Jim Jarmusch to Variety, December 27, 1989.

"I want the critics to find my films themselves. Most films aren't demanding enough of the audience. I've tried to see this supposed 'new' strain in American movies. Instead, I see the realities like 'Desperately Seeking Susan' and 'Blood Simple'. They're Spielbergian, a play on accepting television language. They don't trust the audience, cutting to a new shot every six or seven seconds. Frankly, I feel the whole situation for making films has gotten worse." --Jarmusch in American Film, October 1986.

"Anytime you make a film, it's not my money I use, so there's business considerations; I'm not naive and not oblivious to them. But they serve the film in the end, rather than the film serving the money. I think maybe that's the basic difference. As soon as the work is there to serve the budget, rather than the budget being there to serve the work, then it's backwards and that's not independent anymore.

"I get to make films the way I want. It would be frustrating if no one would help me finance them. I don't care where the money comes from as long as it doesn't have restrictions with guys in suits telling me how to cast the film and how to cut it and what actors to cast, or what music to use. As long as it's my work then I'm happy. I don't care if that money comes from Universal or if it comes from some independent business guys in, you know, in France, or wherever." --Jarmusch quoted in "Filmmaker Focus" at www.sundancechannel.com

On censorship: "It's like Oscar Wilde says, paraphrasing him: 'The imagination should be out of bounds to any form of censorship.' Because if you can release things in your imagination you may not have to act on them. For example, sexuality in Scandinavia is probably a hell of a lot more healthy than in America, where it is repressed. I think that there are fewer people there who are raping and abusing others than here. I think if you look at 'gangster rap', which gets constantly harassed, you'll see it's from young brothers comin' out of the streets who have no other way to get out. They get attacked all the time, but you don't see Arnold Schwarzenegger movies attacked in the same way, which are a far more visual form of violence. But I would stick up for those movies, too, because they're strong stories. Look at 'The Iliad'. It is all about very violent war.

"I don't understand that way of thinking, which is a very sneaky way of trying to control us and keep a certain social order by attacking expression. They say, 'The expression is the cause.' No, that's backwards. The expression is a reflection of a history of human-kind. There is something wrong with that suppression. I think that the imagination and expression of the imagination should be protected as a totally free zone. Obviously there are rules. You don't want to have children exposed to certain things, but all cultures protect their children so thay are prepared for life. Even things that are sick and twisted should be permitted to be expressed in some way because thay are an escape valve. It's when these things are repressed that people act out on them. But I don't know. I'm not a sociologist. It's not my job. I don't wave banners around." --Jarmusch quoted in MovieMaker, Issue No 37, Volume 7.

"In the past, when I started to write scripts, and ideas came to me from other films or from books, I would shove them away. In this case ['Ghost Dog'] I accepted them. I think it has to do with music, with bebop and hip-hop. Something opened up in me; like when you listen to Charlie Parker and he plays a solo, but then he quotes a standard in his solo, and weaves it in. I think that finally registered for me--and I decided to construct a film where the door was open for things like Jean-Pierre Melville's 'Le Samourai', Seijun Suzuki's 'Branded to Kill', 'Don Quixote', 'Frankenstein', hip-hop culture ... a lot of things." --Jarmusch quoted in Premiere, February 2000.

"A bunch of old white men have run things so far. That's why I've always been interested in people who don't fit it. I have friends who are in prison, off the grid, living on reservations. I learn more from them, somehow, and I respect them." --Jarmusch to The New York Times, February 29, 2000.

"I don't know what 'indie film' means anymore. The term has been usurped as a marketing device. The name is like alternative music--they labeled it to make it mainstream. To me, independent film means that the people making the film love cinema as a beautiful form of expression and make the creative decisions without having market analysis to decide what the audience wants the product to be. After all, the beauty of a film is that when you go into a theater, you enter a world, and you have no idea where it's going to take you. Like a piece of music, it sweeps you along in its own rhythm and its own time." --Jarmusch, quoted in Richard Corliss' review of "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai", in Time, March 13, 2000.

"For me, mistakes are the most important part of working ... The things you do wrong help you go forward because what you do right, you often can't explain."---Jarmusch to Cate Blanchett in Interview June 2004

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Sara Driver. Director, producer.

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Tom Jarmusch. Actor. Born c. 1961; appeared in Tom DiCillo's "Johnny Suede" (1991) and "Living in Oblivion" (1995).

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute