Long before the unintended consequences of globalization became matters of economic life and death, Jim Jarmusch has explored in his films the creative contradictions involved in living in a connected modern world. His films depict a fraternity of searchers and dreamers, screen characters who are moved across time zones by random circumstance, the emotional weight of the perfect song played at the perfect time, and who, while obsessing about the perfect cup of coffee, are casually and often humorously contemplating the deepest of philosophical conundrums.
In his review of Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, the critic Jonathan Rosenbaum got at the essence of the director. He wrote, “From the start of his career Jarmusch has been a settler in the still barely discovered territory of global culture. He's not simply or exclusively an ‘American independent’ but an astute connoisseur of cultural essentials that escape boundaries of nationality, ethnicity, language, gender, and age, and he's broaching a realm of experience and potential bonding that's daily becoming more important to the quality of everyday life on the planet.”
With The Limits of Control, his 11th feature, due out this May, FilmInFocus took a look back at Jarmusch’s career and identified the tributaries and byways that connect his films.