Night on Earth


2h 8m 1991
Night on Earth

Brief Synopsis

An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same eventful night.

Film Details

Also Known As
Noche en la tierra, Une Nuit sur terre
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Release Date
1991
Production Company
George Walden; Steve Carroll
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE RELEASING/FINE LINE/FINE LINE FEATURES
Location
Paris, France; Los Angeles, California, USA; Rome, Italy; Helsinki, Finland; New York City, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m

Synopsis

Five stories, each involving the relationship between a cab driver and his or her passenger, that take place simultaneously around the globe during the course of one night.

Crew

Haije Alanoja

Production Coordinator

Davie Allen

Thanks

Nancy & Andrea

Thanks

Robert M Andres

Key Grip

Sebastiano Argentino

Transportation

Erkki Astala

Interpreter

Erkki Astala

Production Coordinator

Jean-charles Bachelier

Hair

Eric Bassoff

Production Assistant

Karl Baumgartner

Special Thanks To

Magda Bava

Costume Designer

Thomas Beattie

Driver

Gina Belafonte

Hair

Roni Ben-nevat

Assistant Director

Thomas Bernath

Interpreter

Beth Bernstein

Assistant Production Coordinator

Maria T. Bierniak

Location Assistant

Elisha Birnbaum

Foley Artist

Ray Blackburn

Best Boy Grip

Steve Blakely

Special Thanks To

Francis Boespflug

Special Thanks To

Felipe Borrero

Sound Recordist

Frédéric Bourboulon

Special Thanks To

Stefan Bremer

Photography

Kathleen Brennan

Song

Tim Brennan

Other

Josef Brinckmann

Other

Pam Brockie

Special Thanks To

Reinhard Brundig

Special Thanks To

Diana E Burton

Property Master

Jeff Butcher

Property Master

Spartaco Calanchini

Transportation

Jerry Capehart

Song

Ralph Carney

Other

Steve Carroll

Production Insurance

Seymour Cassel

Thanks

Moe Chamberlain

Boom Operator

Gilles Charmant

Production Assistant

Emanuele Chiari

Assistant Camera Operator

Elisabeth Chochoy

Continuity

Mark Hunshik Choi

Production Assistant

Anthony Ciccolini

Sound Designer

Eddie Cochran

Song

Giampiero Comanducci

Stunts

Vittorio Contino

Grip

Catherine E. Coulson

Assistant Camera Operator

Olivier Coutard

Assistant Director

Lino Damiani

Assistant Producer

Erja Dammert

Script Supervisor

Holly Davis

Wardrobe Assistant

Randy Day

Set Production Assistant

Jeanne Marie De La Fontaine

Assistant Director

Etienne Debaudringhien

Best Boy

Michele Delorimier

Production Assistant

Fabrizio Deluca

On-Set Dresser

Catherine Demesmaeker

Makeup

Claire Denis

Advisor

Alex Descas

Thanks

Alessandro Dinitto

Assistant Producer

Don Donigi

Special Thanks To

Sara Driver

Dailies

Richie Edson

Thanks

Terence J Edwards

Assistant Director

Simon Egleton

Production Assistant

Bernard Eisenschitz

Interpreter

Fred Elmes

Director Of Photography

Martine Etchegaray

Other

Didier Flamand

Thanks

Aili Flint

Interpreter

Sttphane Fontaine

Assistant Camera Operator

Claire Fraisse

Costume Designer

Matt Frazier

Production Assistant

Alice Fries

Special Thanks To

Carol Fries

Special Thanks To

Robert Gambardella

Gaffer

Sam Gardlin

Other

Eugene Gearty

Sound Effects Editor

Nathan Gendzier

Location Manager

Patrizio Giulioli

Other

Santiago Gomez

Other

Doc Gooden

Thanks

Barbara G Gordon

Costume Designer

Joe Gore

Music

Tony Grocki

Assistant Editor

Sandy Grubb

Assistant Production Coordinator

Prescilla Guastavino

Special Thanks To

Thomas A Gulino

Dialogue Editor

Varda Hardy

Script Supervisor

Terrell Hasker

Grip

Nathalie Herr

Production Assistant

Kathie Hersch

Production Manager

Eugene Hess

Production Assistant

Klaus Heydemann

Production Manager

Mark Higashino

Photography

Joe Hirata

Thanks

Masaaki Hisamatsu

Special Thanks To

Kaija Ilomaki

Makeup

Masahiro Inbe

Co-Executive Producer

Janet M Izzo

Interpreter

Moune Jamet

Photography

Jim Jarmusch

Producer

Jim Jarmusch

Screenplay

Tom Jarmusch

Thanks

Elizabeth Kaczmarczyk

Script Supervisor

Michael William Katz

Lighting

Danny Kaufman

Production Assistant

Aki Kaurismäki

Thanks

Mika Kaurismäki

Thanks

Kazuko Kayakita

Special Thanks To

Richard King

Foley Editor

Phil Kline

Thanks

Dan Kneece

Steadicam Operator

Mitsuru Komori

Photography

Robert Kriwicki

Special Thanks To

Lisa Krueger

Script Supervisor

Drew Kunin

Sound Mixer

Harri Laakso

Assistant Camera Operator

Kari Laine

Props

Leo Landa

Camera

Didier Landureau

Production Assistant

George Lara

Foley

Harry Leavey

Driver

Jim Leavey

Transportation Captain

Stefano Lentini

Transportation

Johan Letenoux

Set Decorator

Frederic Leve

Boom Operator

Colin Leventhal

Special Thanks To

Susan Littenberg

Apprentice

Jean Claude Lother

Production Assistant

Barbara Lucy

Special Thanks To

Erkki Lume

Location Manager

Jouko Lumme

Sound

John Lurie

Thanks

Demetra J Macbride

Coproducer

Charles Macdonald

Special Thanks To

Mairi Macdonald

Special Thanks To

Todd Macnicholl

Key Grip

Marie Christine Malbert

Special Thanks To

Isabella Mariano

Other

Pietro Marrocco

Transportation

Fabio Massimi

Gaffer

Bob Mastronardi

Special Thanks To

Alex Matchan

Special Thanks To

Mikko Mattila

Dolly Grip

Brian P Maxwell

Driver

Joseph Mcdougall

Location Manager

Howard Mcmaster

Assistant Director

Marco Melani

Thanks

Dianne Miller

Best Boy Grip

Gary Francis Minor

Production Assistant

John Mitchell

Electrician

Suzanne Moliere

Office Assistant

Enzo Monteleone

Interpreter

Peter Morello

Assistant Camera Operator

Robby Muller

Thanks

Richard W Murphy

Boom Operator

Morag Naylor

Special Thanks To

Bill Nisselson

Special Thanks To

Susan O'leary

Assistant Director

Susan O'leary

Production Coordinator

Giorgia Onofri

Interpreter

Giorgia Onofri

Continuity

Adolfo Onorati

Transportation

Corinne Oreal

Assistant Camera Operator

Ilkka Paloniemi

Electrician

Claire Parisot

Interpreter

Pierre Yves Parrinet

Unit Manager Assistant

Christine Parry

Photography

Pauli Pentti

Assistant Director

Rene Pequignot

Gaffer

Riccardo Petrazzi

Stunt Coordinator

Todd R Pfeiffer

Assistant Director

Zefferino Picciano

Other

Manuela Pineskj-berger

Production Manager

Giampaolo Pippa

Sound

Lucy Pollak

Production Assistant

Edward Pollard

Production Assistant

Antonio Ponti

Production Assistant

Guendalina Ponti

Special Thanks To

Raquel Quiroz

Boom Operator

Jay Rabinowitz

Editor

Joseph Rochlitz

Assistant Director

Bob Rodriguez

Special Thanks To

Dott Francesco Romanelli

Special Thanks To

Gianni Rosi

Special Thanks To

Tommy Rothman

Thanks

Dick Rude

Thanks

Gilles Sacuto

Production Manager

Laurent Saimond

Property Master

Ravil Salah

Production Assistant

Alberto Salandri

Electrician

Tom Salvatore

Other

Nicolas Sand

Electrician

Luc Sante

Thanks

Joe Santi

Special Thanks To

Leo Santos

Production Assistant

Louis Sarno

Thanks

Benno Schoberth

Assistant Sound Editor

Sandra Schulberg

Special Thanks To

Cornelius Schultze-kraft

Office Assistant

Film Details

Also Known As
Noche en la tierra, Une Nuit sur terre
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Release Date
1991
Production Company
George Walden; Steve Carroll
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE RELEASING/FINE LINE/FINE LINE FEATURES
Location
Paris, France; Los Angeles, California, USA; Rome, Italy; Helsinki, Finland; New York City, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m

Articles

Night on Earth


An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same eventful night.
Night On Earth

Night on Earth

An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same eventful night.

Night on Earth - Taxi Rides to Remember - Jim Jarmusch's NIGHT ON EARTH on DVD


Criterion's DVD of Night on Earth would seem to be the first Region 1 release of this amusing 1991 comedy, one of Jim Jarmusch's most accessible films. Essentially five episodes taking place in and around taxicabs in five American and European cities, the film presents five sets of characters in free-standing skits, and allows Jarmusch to let loose a dozen or so actors in situations that range from quirky to fall-down funny. The film helped introduce American audiences to the Italian comedian Roberto Benigni, but each chapter features memorable talent. The common factor is the taxi ride, a universal experience uniting cities around the world.

Synopsis: Los Angeles. Casting director Victoria Snelling (Gena Rowlands) is taken from LAX to Beverly Hills, discovering on the way that her 19-year old cabbie Corky (Winona Ryder) would be perfect for a hard-to-fill role in a movie. Manhattan. YoYo (Giancarlo Esposito) has a tough time getting a ride home to Brooklyn, and is surprised when the cab that does stop is driven by Helmut Grokenberger (Armin Mueller-Stahl), an immigrant from East Germany who used to be a clown and really doesn't know how to drive. YoYo takes over, and picks up his sister-in-law Angela (Rosie Perez) on the way. Paris. A taxi driver from the Ivory Coast (Isaach De Bankolé) ejects two disrespectful African diplomats but becomes fascinated by a blind woman (Béatrice Dalle) who overturns all of his preconceptions about blindness. Rome. A crazy taxi driver (Roberto Benigni) picks up a nervous priest (Paolo Bonacelli) and proceeds to unnerve him with an impromptu confession of outrageous sexual sins. Helsinki. Dour taxi driver Mika (Matti Pellonpää) takes three drunken factory workers home after one of them has been fired. Just when the three are feeling sorry for themselves, Mika tells them about his own, far more devastating personal tragedy.

Jim Jarmusch has a loyal and enthusiastic following, and his droll films are unified by a recognizable personal style. Night on Earth is less experimental and probably less frustrating for average audiences than some of his pictures, and it has the saving grace of occasionally being very funny, once one adjusts to the concept. The only proviso is that one needs to be prepared to spend two hours doing nothing but prowling the night in taxicabs.

Jarmusch tailors each chapter to suit a particular city, and his choices run to stereotype. Los Angeles is the land of movie dreams, New York a destination for immigrants and Paris a place where personal styles run from rude to more rude. In Rome we find a priest and in Helsinki a resigned lost soul. Expectations and attitudes clash all over the world, and in most cases somebody learns a useful lesson. Or at least, strangers in the night make meaningful, if brief, contact with one another.

Linked by a Tom Waits song, the stories are introduced with inserts of international clocks and a spinning globe. The film starts with a nice pairing of Gena Rowlands and Winona Rider. Rider's character Corky is perhaps a little overstated. She smokes, swears and would like to be a mechanic, and the understanding Victoria is surprised when an offer of potential movie stardom doesn't get the response she expects. Jarmusch lets us know that he considers each city a special character, which becomes obvious when Corky takes Victoria to Sunset & Beverly by way of locations nowhere near any realistic route.

The New York episode gives us the film's most energetic characters. Armin Mueller-Stahl's incompetent cabbie drives his taxi in hopeless little jerks, braking and accelerating at the same time. The delightful Giancarlo Esposito finds everything about Helmut funny, starting with his name. Rosie Perez' Angela initiates an expected profane scream fest, but the trio finds a moment of harmony as they cross the East River. The charm of the actors overcomes the stock characters; it's impossible not to like Mueller-Stahl when he puts on his red clown's nose or plays two flutes at the same time.

The Paris episode is the most original. Silent cabbie Isaach De Bankolé resents being patronized by a pair of well-dressed Africans, and dumps them on the street. He then picks up Béatrice Dalle's unusual blind woman. Shocked that she can guess his specific nationality, Isaach wants to communicate his interest in her but keeps asking lame questions about blindness. His fare can't see, but she knows when the chosen route isn't the one she asked for, and seems to intuit a lot more than is possible.

The Rome sequence breaks with format and turns the antic motormouth Roberto Benigni loose on a one-joke gag. Benigni carries the entire episode with an unending monologue, first to himself and then to an uncomfortable priest. As they wind through the narrow streets, Benigni explains how, when he was a teenager, his sex life shifted from pumpkins to sheep.

The final episode in Helsinki edges closer to more familiar Jarmusch content. Matti Pellonpää's lonely cab seems to be the only moving object in the gloomy frozen capital. His deadpan expression never varies, as his passengers wail about boring jobs and a general hopelessness. The joke in this one is almost buried, and we're expected to find humor in the static, downbeat ending.

Criterion's DVD of Night on Earth will please insomniacs, as most of its night-crawling citizens feel right at home prowling through the quiet streets of famous capitals. Cinematographer Frederick Elmes' nighttime camerawork is consistently handsome. Most of the moving car angles shoot straight on through the front windshield. With the constant parade of new faces to watch, the minimalist style doesn't offend.

Disc producer Susan Arosteguy's extras are also unusual. The commentary track is shared by Elmes and audio man Drew Kunin and covers only selected scenes. Jarmusch is seen in a 1992 Belgian TV interview and in a separate audio interview answers a series of fan inquiries. The critical comment comes in the fat insert booklet, where Thom Andersen, Paul Auster, Bernard Eisenschitz, Goffredo Fofi and Peter von Bagh take one episode each in turn. Each assures us that Jarmusch has captured a special quality of the particular city and proceeds to describe what happens in minute detail. A couple of the writers were also once taxi drivers and are impressed at how well Jarmusch has captured the essence of the job.

For more information about Night on Earth, visit The Criterion Collection. To order Night on Earth, go to TCM Shopping.

by Glenn Erickson

Night on Earth - Taxi Rides to Remember - Jim Jarmusch's NIGHT ON EARTH on DVD

Criterion's DVD of Night on Earth would seem to be the first Region 1 release of this amusing 1991 comedy, one of Jim Jarmusch's most accessible films. Essentially five episodes taking place in and around taxicabs in five American and European cities, the film presents five sets of characters in free-standing skits, and allows Jarmusch to let loose a dozen or so actors in situations that range from quirky to fall-down funny. The film helped introduce American audiences to the Italian comedian Roberto Benigni, but each chapter features memorable talent. The common factor is the taxi ride, a universal experience uniting cities around the world. Synopsis: Los Angeles. Casting director Victoria Snelling (Gena Rowlands) is taken from LAX to Beverly Hills, discovering on the way that her 19-year old cabbie Corky (Winona Ryder) would be perfect for a hard-to-fill role in a movie. Manhattan. YoYo (Giancarlo Esposito) has a tough time getting a ride home to Brooklyn, and is surprised when the cab that does stop is driven by Helmut Grokenberger (Armin Mueller-Stahl), an immigrant from East Germany who used to be a clown and really doesn't know how to drive. YoYo takes over, and picks up his sister-in-law Angela (Rosie Perez) on the way. Paris. A taxi driver from the Ivory Coast (Isaach De Bankolé) ejects two disrespectful African diplomats but becomes fascinated by a blind woman (Béatrice Dalle) who overturns all of his preconceptions about blindness. Rome. A crazy taxi driver (Roberto Benigni) picks up a nervous priest (Paolo Bonacelli) and proceeds to unnerve him with an impromptu confession of outrageous sexual sins. Helsinki. Dour taxi driver Mika (Matti Pellonpää) takes three drunken factory workers home after one of them has been fired. Just when the three are feeling sorry for themselves, Mika tells them about his own, far more devastating personal tragedy. Jim Jarmusch has a loyal and enthusiastic following, and his droll films are unified by a recognizable personal style. Night on Earth is less experimental and probably less frustrating for average audiences than some of his pictures, and it has the saving grace of occasionally being very funny, once one adjusts to the concept. The only proviso is that one needs to be prepared to spend two hours doing nothing but prowling the night in taxicabs. Jarmusch tailors each chapter to suit a particular city, and his choices run to stereotype. Los Angeles is the land of movie dreams, New York a destination for immigrants and Paris a place where personal styles run from rude to more rude. In Rome we find a priest and in Helsinki a resigned lost soul. Expectations and attitudes clash all over the world, and in most cases somebody learns a useful lesson. Or at least, strangers in the night make meaningful, if brief, contact with one another. Linked by a Tom Waits song, the stories are introduced with inserts of international clocks and a spinning globe. The film starts with a nice pairing of Gena Rowlands and Winona Rider. Rider's character Corky is perhaps a little overstated. She smokes, swears and would like to be a mechanic, and the understanding Victoria is surprised when an offer of potential movie stardom doesn't get the response she expects. Jarmusch lets us know that he considers each city a special character, which becomes obvious when Corky takes Victoria to Sunset & Beverly by way of locations nowhere near any realistic route. The New York episode gives us the film's most energetic characters. Armin Mueller-Stahl's incompetent cabbie drives his taxi in hopeless little jerks, braking and accelerating at the same time. The delightful Giancarlo Esposito finds everything about Helmut funny, starting with his name. Rosie Perez' Angela initiates an expected profane scream fest, but the trio finds a moment of harmony as they cross the East River. The charm of the actors overcomes the stock characters; it's impossible not to like Mueller-Stahl when he puts on his red clown's nose or plays two flutes at the same time. The Paris episode is the most original. Silent cabbie Isaach De Bankolé resents being patronized by a pair of well-dressed Africans, and dumps them on the street. He then picks up Béatrice Dalle's unusual blind woman. Shocked that she can guess his specific nationality, Isaach wants to communicate his interest in her but keeps asking lame questions about blindness. His fare can't see, but she knows when the chosen route isn't the one she asked for, and seems to intuit a lot more than is possible. The Rome sequence breaks with format and turns the antic motormouth Roberto Benigni loose on a one-joke gag. Benigni carries the entire episode with an unending monologue, first to himself and then to an uncomfortable priest. As they wind through the narrow streets, Benigni explains how, when he was a teenager, his sex life shifted from pumpkins to sheep. The final episode in Helsinki edges closer to more familiar Jarmusch content. Matti Pellonpää's lonely cab seems to be the only moving object in the gloomy frozen capital. His deadpan expression never varies, as his passengers wail about boring jobs and a general hopelessness. The joke in this one is almost buried, and we're expected to find humor in the static, downbeat ending. Criterion's DVD of Night on Earth will please insomniacs, as most of its night-crawling citizens feel right at home prowling through the quiet streets of famous capitals. Cinematographer Frederick Elmes' nighttime camerawork is consistently handsome. Most of the moving car angles shoot straight on through the front windshield. With the constant parade of new faces to watch, the minimalist style doesn't offend. Disc producer Susan Arosteguy's extras are also unusual. The commentary track is shared by Elmes and audio man Drew Kunin and covers only selected scenes. Jarmusch is seen in a 1992 Belgian TV interview and in a separate audio interview answers a series of fan inquiries. The critical comment comes in the fat insert booklet, where Thom Andersen, Paul Auster, Bernard Eisenschitz, Goffredo Fofi and Peter von Bagh take one episode each in turn. Each assures us that Jarmusch has captured a special quality of the particular city and proceeds to describe what happens in minute detail. A couple of the writers were also once taxi drivers and are impressed at how well Jarmusch has captured the essence of the job. For more information about Night on Earth, visit The Criterion Collection. To order Night on Earth, go to TCM Shopping. by Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring May 1, 1992

Released in United States May 8, 1992

Released in United States on Video December 2, 1992

Released in United States 1991

Released in United States October 1991

Released in United States 1992

Released in United States January 1992

Released in United States January 1999

Shown at New York Film Festival (world premiere) September 20 - October 6, 1991.

Shown at MIFED in Milan October 20-25, 1991.

Shown at San Francisco International Film Festival April 23-May 7, 1992.

Filmed in the languages of each city, and end credits are also in each language.

Film noted: "In Memory of Catherine Demesmaeker."

Released in United States Spring May 1, 1992

Released in United States May 8, 1992

Released in United States on Video December 2, 1992

Released in United States 1991 (Shown at New York Film Festival (world premiere) September 20 - October 6, 1991.)

Released in United States October 1991 (Shown at MIFED in Milan October 20-25, 1991.)

Released in United States 1992 (Shown at San Francisco International Film Festival April 23-May 7, 1992.)

Released in United States January 1992 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 16-26, 1992.)

Released in United States January 1999 (Shown in Los Angeles (Cecchi Gori Fine Arts Theater) as part of program "Beyond Beautiful: The Films of Roberto Benigni" January 6-14, 1999.)