VIFF 2016: Notes on Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)

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“…I dreamt that we would have twins..”

I didn’t catch these opening lines until my second viewing of the film, & as elegant and moving as the initial one was, the film opens up considerably once these added dimensions are openly defined. The film is frequently introducing us to twins or doubles, not within dreams but in reality, culminating with Paterson being given ‘new’ pages by what is in essence, a spiritual twin. Does the ‘real’ then, become influenced by our own subjective impressions, rather than our impressions be designed by the real? Or is there a kind of middle ground whereupon these are arbitrary forces? Paterson only writes in isolation, almost in secret – yet this writing manifests as both compression/paring down of the outside world to abstract essentials, and amplification/elaboration of romantic feelings into romantic gestures.

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