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Night on Earth

Director: Jim Jarmusch

U.S.A.-U.K.-Japan-France-Germany| 1991. Colour. Dolby stereo. 129 min.


Coolly received upon release, Night on Earth sees Jarmusch go truly global, bringing us six vignettes from six taxi cabs across the planet, random encounters uni?ed across time zones by Tom Waits’ unmistakable score and the ?lmmaker’s by now trademark eye for the off-kilter, the poignant and the frequently hilarious. It’s a mixed bag: Gena Rowlands and Winona Ryder gag away to little consequence in the L.A. segment, while, in Paris, Beatrice Dalle somewhat predictably overplays her hand as a disagreeable blind woman sparring with cabby Isaach De Bankole. That said, there’s plenty to love here, in particular a Helsinki sequence that pays fond homage to Jarmusch’s mate Aki Kaurismaki and a positively uproarious Rome encounter that ensures we will forgive Roberto Benigni any number of future celluloid transgressions and excruciating award show appearances. This is Jarmusch’s warmest movie, a love letter to the human condition entirely devoid of schmaltz. Rediscovery awaits.

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