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Early French Cinema and Vigo Coursework

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Although since the inception of the film industry and inventions a lot has evolved, from its humble beginnings, principles of neo-realism can easily be outlined. The film “Stranger than Paradise (1984)” is an artistic work of one person – Jim Jarmusch. A synopsis of the film as presented Jarmusch indicates a drift from the tenets of neo-realism to a futuristic story-oriented comedy that is hard to categorize, as depicted in Magill’s Survey of Film – he describes it as “a road film with an unknown destination; a buddy film but friends dissociate most of the time and a near documentary film with a realistic synoptic view showing a delicate membrane between daily life and the ridiculous ideas that are presented in theatre (Lanzoni 29-33).

Formalistic aspects of the Film

In the phenomenon Willie and Eddie return from gambling; on reading Eva’s note, they make up an assumption on her course of action and go after her. In the confusion that ensues thereafter, Willie boards the plane headed for Hungary and takes off leaving Eddie behind only to realize Eva is not on board. This section conforms to the neo-realism aspects where films sought to represent or depict life as it is. Considering the timeline of the film, there were communication limitations and in such situations, people can only be directed by their instincts. This is exactly what Eddie and Willie chose to do, at the helm of their confusion. Also, in desperation to aid their circumstance, Eva goes back to the hotel only to find an empty hotel room. On the other side, Eddie is left alone at the airport making it difficult to connect with either of his colleagues (Lawlor 1).

This incident has plenty of formalistic aspects, because it is a comedy that is based on paradoxes of life, while Willie is acting in a rush to find Eva, Eddie is hindered by the jam of people to get on board, and owing to time limitations, he is left back; hence, complicating the situation further. On the other hand, Eva’s intention was moral, because she took the responsibility of informing her buddies about her course of action, but there seems to be a misunderstanding and rush to a conclusion by the two gamblers. In daily life, such misunderstandings have often been one of the primary causes of resource and time wastage, in addition to occasionally straining relationships; hence, greatly jeopardizing people’s social life.

Indie” cult Classic aspects of the Film

Stranger than Paradise emerges as an outstanding indie cult classic film, because of several reasons; Jarmusch was the sole masterpiece behind the work, and he presents the film ‘The Semi Neorealist black comedy’ as described by Jarmusch in a fascinating manner where the comedy style of presentation describes real lives’ emotions in a non-manipulative way. Although the film style has been described as minimalist, the black and white film gives the viewers limited cues than it would have been was it colored; the actor resorts to an impressive motionless observational camera, because of the use of the sixty-seven discrete scene-based shots (Lawlor 1)

On the other hand, the excellent ability to present characters paradoxically gives the film a cutting edge. For instance, Willie is presented as a wondering subject; while in the phone conversation with Eva he appears of Hungarian background, he emerges to be an American in his behavior throughout the film. This artistic impression made viewers anxious because it is hard to predict the turn of events in every scene. The film also is composed of a collection of transplanted influences, it paints a fascinating picture of America’s different cultures, making it a favorite of many (Lanzoni 45-49). Eva as an immigrant in the land of dreams is not depicted as spellbound on the island as many immigrants are, but she is shown as being desolate on a lonely walkway. This mixture of expectations, creativity, and character drift surely made the film an indie cult classic.


A comparative view of paradigm drift in the film industry indicates that in “Stranger than Paradise,” there is a disconnection from the tenets of neo-realism. This film has whole aspects of the current film industry that has evolved through varying principles over time. However, as indicated in the film flow, several other formalistic incidences are depicted. Variation in perceptions by scholars or analysts indicates a wide confirmation of the film to the initial values of the film industry.


Lanzoni, Remi. French Cinema: From its Beginnings to the present, Continuum 2002.

London: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002. Print.

Lawlor, Colin. 1999. Web.

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