Permanent Vacation

Director: Jim Jarmusch

U.S.A| 1980. Colour. 77 min.

Begun as a student project while the nascent ?lmmaker was still attending New York University, Jarmusch’s rarely seen debut feature receives a not-to-be-missed screening. The ?rst cut of Permanent Vacation made waves when NYU authorities discovered that Jarmusch hadn’t paid his fees (he’d used the money to make the ?lm) and refused him a degree. Securing a modicum of private backing, Jarmusch reworked the ?lm into this freewheeling urban travelogue following a young New Yorker (played by Jarmusch’s then classmate Chris Parker and initiating the director’s long tradition of casting non-actors in key roles) as he wanders the deserted streets of New York searching for meaning in his life. Aided immeasurably by Lounge Lizard John Lurie’s moody jazz soundtrack and cinematographer Tom DiCillo’s stylishly sparse camerawork, this remains an intriguing, wilfully personal and utterly compelling introduction to a major ?lmmaker.

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