Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

STRANGER THAN PARADISE (w/ guest Jim Jarmusch, Director)

Year: 1984
Country: USA/West Germany
Run Time: 90 minutes

STRANGER THAN PARADISE (w/ guest Jim Jarmusch, Director)

A graduate of Columbia University, Akron native Jim Jarmusch studied in Paris and at N.Y.U.'s Graduate Film School. He became Nicholas Ray's assistant and assisted Wim Wenders on "Lightning Over Water." The versatile filmmaker also has a background in acting, music and writing. He began winning major festival awards with "Permanent Vacation," going on to phenomenal success with his first feature, the prize-winning STRANGER THAN PARADISE, undoubtedly the most widely praised independent film of 1984.

STRANGER THAN PARADISE is a highly original, stylized black and white portrait of America in triptych, shot in a series of vignettes - each a single take focusing on the essential. "THE NEW WORLD" is the first sequence, set in New York. Willie (John Lurie) is a deadbeat with a morose face and personality to match. His teenage cousin, Eva (Eszter Balint) arrives from Budapest and he barely tolerates her presence in his dismal apartment. He and his hangdog friend, Eddie (Richard Edson), almost Willie's double, play the races and cards while Eva shoplifts her way into her cousin's respect.

"ONE YEAR LATER" the 3 marginal characters meet again in Cleveland when Willie and Eddie visit Eva, now living with Aunt Lotte (the late Cecilia Stark). The cardsharks are no match for the Hungarian aunt who proclaims herself "de veneer" at every game. Their "vacation" soon palls in wintry Cleveland.

Escaping Aunt Lotte and a frozen Lake Erie, the trio take to the road for Florida, finding a "PARADISE" as ugly and desolate as the other locales. The offbeat comedy builds to a surprise climax as both fortune and misfortune send the threesome their separate ways. Masterful direction and a perfect cast create a refreshing, droll, absolute "gem."

"Jim Jarmusch's STRANGER THAN PARADISE is that rare film which feels totally fresh without a glimmer of affectation. . .a perfect fusion of style and subject. . .a delirious black comedy." -Film Comment

". . .A rich, funny tale of unforgettable characters. . .A perfectly told short story, made with economy, heart and wit. . .It doesn't feel quite like any other movie you've ever seen." -Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

Jim Jarmusch will be in attendance.

This film is presented in dedication to the memory of Cecillia Stark, who died last month.

Jim Jarmusch

Sam Driver

Tom Dicillo

Jim Jarmusch, Melody London

Principal Cast
John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson, Cecillia Stark

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