From the Chicago Reader (June 28, 1996). This essay subsequently grew into a book, commissioned by Rob White for the BFI Modern Classics, that came out in 2000, proved to be one of my most popular, and went into a second edition; a French edition is also available (2005), translated by Louis Malle’s daughter Justine, as well as a Czech edition and even an unauthorized Farsi one. — J.R.
Rating **** Masterpiece
Directed and written
by Jim Jarmusch
With Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Eugene Byrd, Mili Avital, Gabriel Byrne, John Hurt, Iggy Pop, Billy Bob Thornton, Jared Harris, Jimmie Ray Weeks, Mark Bringelson, Michelle Thrush, Alfred Molina, Robert Mitchum, and Crispin Glover.
When we speak of “seriousness” in fiction ultimately we are talking about an attitude toward death. — Thomas Pynchon
Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, a disturbing, mysterious black-and-white western, opens with someone named William Blake (Johnny Depp), a recently orphaned accountant from Cleveland, traveling west on a train with the promise of a job at a metal works in a town called Machine. He keeps dozing off and waking to new sets of fellow passengers, including several who fire their guns out the windows at a herd of buffalo.… Read more »
Posted on Slate in late 2005. I’m sorry that the links no longer work. — J.R.
The New Global Movie Culture
By Jonathan Rosenbaum
Dec 29, 2005 4:52 PM
So many films and so little time! Consequently, I hope you’ll forgive me if I skate past most of the titles that we’ve all been citing lately and jump to some of the bigger issues broached by Tony in his first letter, and by David and Scott more recently —specifically, the transformations of film culture that are taking place these days thanks to DVDs, the Internet, globalization, and related pleasures, and conundrums.
In fact, David, I regard you as something of a pioneer in your inauguration of this Movie Club seven years ago. This helped to usher in the idea of critical exchanges in cyberspace that’s been developing so rapidly ever since that I find refreshing new instances of it virtually every day. The irreplaceable Dave Kehr reporting “from the lost continent of cinephilia” on his wonderful new blog and including responses from others is only one of the first examples that spring to mind. Another is the international, auteurist chat group over at Yahoo!, which has been around somewhat longer, where they’ve been raking me over the coals lately — and with a great deal of intelligence and pertinence, I might add — about my skeptical comments regarding Malick’s The New World, which I’ve been making in Movie Club as well as there.… Read more »