Jim Jarmusch Poster

Quotes (23)

  • I know. It's all so . . . independent. I'm so sick of that word. I reach for my revolver when I hear the word 'quirky.' Or 'edgy.' Those words are now becoming labels that are slapped on products to sell them. Anyone who makes a film that is the film they want to make, and it is not defined by marketing analysis or a commercial enterprise, is independent. My movies are kind of made by hand. They're not polished -- they're sort of built in the garage. It's more like being an artisan in some way.
  • I consider myself a dilettante in a positive way, and I always have. That affects my sense of filmmaking.
  • I feel so lucky. During the late 70's in New York, anything seemed possible. You could make a movie or a record and work part time, and you could find an apartment for 160 bucks a month. And the conversations were about ideas. No one was talking about money. It was pretty amazing. But looking back is dangerous. I don't like nostalgia. But, still, damn, it was fun. I'm glad I was there.
  • I prefer to be subcultural rather than mass-cultural. I'm not interested in hitting the vein of the mainstream.
  • I'm happiest when I'm shooting the movie. Filming is like sex. Writing the script is like seduction, then shooting is like sex because you're doing the movie with other people. Editing is like being pregnant, and then you give birth and they take your baby away. After this process is done, I will watch the movie one more time with a paying audience that doesn't know I'm there, and then I will never see it again. I'm so sick of it.
  • I'm stubborn. I have to fight. The studios want to be your partner in the creative process. That's why I find most of my financing overseas. I don't let the Money give me notes on my scripts. I don't allow the Money on the set. I don't allow the Money in the editing room. These days, even the little independent studios, they act like Hollywood. Some kid is making a movie for $500,000, and they want the final cut. Seems like the squares are taking over everything.
  • I never talk to actors as a group. Only one at a time. I talk to them about being their characters. Never, ever, about the meaning of the scene. I don't want the actors overladen with research, so they grow stale.
  • Aw, man, is that the only adjective they know? It's like every time I make a goddamn movie, the word "quirky" is hauled out in the American reviews. Now I see it's being applied to Wes Anderson, too. All of a sudden, his films are quirky. And Sofia Coppola is quirky. It's just so goddamn lazy.
  • I am interested in the non-dramatic moments in life. I'm not at all attracted to making films that are about drama. A few years back, I saw a biopic about a famous American abstract expressionist artist. And you know what? It really horrified me. All they did was reduce his life to the big dramatic moments you could pick out of any biography. If that's supposed to be a portrait of somebody, I just don't get it. It's so reductive. It just seems all wrong to me.
  • It's great that the audience have their own different takes on what they have just seen, and don't know all the answers. Often, I don't know all the answers either.
  • The beauty of life is in small details, not in big events.
  • Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don't bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: "It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to."
  • I have no desire to make films for any kind of specific audience. What I want to do is make films that... tell stories, but somehow in an new way, not in a predictable form, not in the usual manipulative way that films seem to on their audiences.
  • [on working with Tilda Swinton] She's just one of the most fantastic people I know. She is full of creativity, she's open, she's incredibly knowledgeable about so many things. She's like the bohemian goddess of our lifetime.
  • [on his approach to cinema] When you make these films they do walk on their own after a certain point. Often, when I'm writing dialogue in a script, whatever's on paper for me is a sketch until you film it. It's not like I'm making them say words. I feel like I'm just transcribing what they're saying.
  • I've always been drawn to outsider types of characters, so what more perfect shadowy inhabitants of the margins there than vampires?
  • Robby Müller, I learned so much from this man about filmmaking, about a lot of things, about life in general and about light and about recording things and about capturing things in-the-moment and about trusting instincts. Robby and I had a really wonderful way of working: No storyboard, a shot list only if really necessary for ourselves. I still don't like making a shot list each day when I'm working. Robby's idea is about instincts, trusting your instinct and your intuition and Robby would always say things like: 'Of course we can plan everything in advance and when we go to that location it's a different time of day, the light is different, the clouds are different, so why would we cling to the idea we had previously? We must always be on our feet. Think on your feet.' And we did a lot of interesting things while scouting for this film together which was: We find the most dramatic, incredibly beautiful landscape you could imagine and then we would turn our backs on it and film the other way. [audience laughs] That was something that Robby said: 'Look how magnificent this is, we've seen it in a fucking calender! Let's look over there, it's a small tree and a rock, very sad and emotional, you know?' [audience laughs] So we would film that instead. And this is just one example of the kind of way that Robby thinks. And I learned so much from him, thinking that way. Don't look for the obvious, always keep your eyes open , keep thinking on your feet. Shooting a film is a process and you can't control everything in the process, so be open. Another thing Robby taught me was: O.K., you're shooting a scene outside and suddenly it starts raining. And most crews would say: 'Well, the scene doesn't take place in the rain, so let's pack up and we'll have to stop for today'. And Robby would be: 'I wonder what it would be like, if the scene's in the rain. Maybe it's much better'. Or if we already shot some of it: 'O.K. think of some dialogue where they say it's about the rain, you know?' Like, keep thinking, keep thinking, don't be set in your script. It's something that came from Nicholas Ray, who said: 'If you just gonna shoot the script then why bother?' And that's something Robby also instilled in me. Robby Müller is a kind of brilliant man who's a very rebellious teenager in part of his spirit and yet an incredibly technically gifted person.[Lincoln Center, April 2014]
  • I am attracted to non-dramatic moments in life.
  • [on the the funniest criticism he's ever had] My favorite? I'll translate it from the French. It was from a right-wing newspaper in the South of France about my movie Down by Law, which said, "Jim Jarmusch is celebrated by the French intelligentsia in a way that's reminiscent of deaf and dumb parents applauding their retarded child. He is 33 years old. This is the age that Christ was crucified on the cross. We can only hope for the same for the future of his film career." Woah! I used to carry that one around in my wallet.
  • [on Paterson] In the film I wanted to make this little structure to be a metaphor for life, that every day is a variation on the day before or the day coming up. They're just variations.
  • ...the beauty of a movie is that you walk in, you don't know anything about it, you enter a world that's new to you, and that's the magic of being transported. If you make a film, that magic is not there, because you were there while shooting it. After writing a film and shooting it and being in the editing room every day, you can never see it clearly. I think other people's perception of your film is more valid than your own, because they have that ability to see it for the first time.
  • [on aging] Gee. I don't know. I don't know how to even answer that. It was funny: I was getting in the car two days ago in New York to go to the airport, and there was a lot of traffic so we couldn't go on the highway. The driver wanted to go through the back streets of Brooklyn and Queens and it was a Saturday afternoon, a very beautiful day. And I'm riding there and possibly going to be late and I didn't worry. I don't know why. And I was just watching people doing little things - a guy fixing his door, little kids chasing a ball and adults chasing children that were laughing, people that were going shopping, a couple arguing on a corner - and I just felt like, sometimes, the world is perfect just because this is what it is. Maybe I wouldn't have felt exactly that same thing some years ago.
  • You see, I start with actors that I want to make a character for. Then I collect a whole lot of details and then I sit down with them and make a connect the dots drawing out of them; see what for of picture it is becoming. I don't know what the story is or where it's going, at all. I just sort of jump in and start. In fact, I think I do it backwards. Most people have a story idea and in the end they cast it, but I start with the actors first.