Jonas & Jim

My friend, filmmaker Mike Cerda, invited me to join him to a screening of Jarmusch’s latest film, “The Limits of Control”. There was a special screening at the Anthology Film Archives celebrating their 40th Anniversary. Watching founder Jonas Mekas, naturally I was wondering how to wrangle him into an interview for WestView.

Jonas came out first and made funny and charming introduction. He talked about just coming back from a trip to Europe where 40 years is not even a blip in time. He seemed genuinely surprised to see the packed house.  Not really a shock for someone like me who expected the sold-out crowd that did show up. What did surprise me —though I’ve known that the East Village has been Jarmusch’s home for ages— was that the opening sequence (or vignette) from his 2003 omnibus, “Coffee & Cigarettes”, was filmed right in the very theater. At the time it wasn’t a theater but a shell, a ramshackle space with debris and whatnot. They made one less hazardous corner of the room look like a haphazard cafe. This is where Roberto Benigni and Steve Wright filmed their scene.

Mekas introduces Jarmusch and Jarmusch proceeds to tell a few anecdotes about his relationship with the old archivist, the theater, living in the East Village and making “The Limits of Control”. He warns the audience that it’s not easy viewing. He intentionally decided to break all typical movie conventions. There’s no discernible plot. But it still contains a wealth of moments that are worthwhile which is true for the majority of his films. After having recently finally watched his debut film, “Permanent Vacation”, and his mid-career “Dead Man”, I can now say that I’ve seen all of his films. Most as they’ve come out.