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Stranger Than Paradise (The Criterion Collection)

John Lurie , Eszter Balint , Jim Jarmusch    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 42.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Stranger Than Paradise (The Criterion Collection) + Down By Law (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Mystery Train (Criterion) (Blu-Ray)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 116.97

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  • Down By Law (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] CDN$ 36.99

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Product Description

Product Description

Rootless Hungarian emigre Willie (John Lurie), his pal Eddie (Richard Edson), and visiting sixteen-year-old cousin Eva (Eszter Balint) always manage to make the least of any situation, whether aimlessly traversing the drab interiors and environs of New York City, Cleveland, or an anonymous Florida suburb. With its delicate humor and dramatic nonchalance, Jim Jarmusch's one-of-a-kind minimalist masterpiece, Stranger Than Paradise, forever transformed the landscape of American independent cinema. Also included in this special-edition release is Jarmusch's legendary debut feature, Permanent Vacation, a time capsule of late-seventies Manhattan, on DVD for the first time in the United States.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By M. Reed
Format:DVD
I was a lonely GI living in Germany in the early 80's and was in Paris for the weekend. A Parisian couple (Great folks, I've NEVER found Parisians to be anything but nice and warm people!) invited me to the film. We saw it near the George Pomp. (I can't spell...) center and it was marvelous. Enough has been analyzed about the film, but to me it struck a personal nerve/note on items of alienation, lonliness, and finally, warmth and acceptance. Screamin' Jay Hawkins "I put a spell on you" fits so well...it was genius to place it (and the boombox, in black and white on a lonely street corner...) in the film. I even bought his albums (that I could find).
Anyway, it's a slow movie, definitely art house, but if you're in a very expat (American) mood, or halfway intelligent, you'll get it. I think it would be interesting if the director did a more updated film on Imigrants. I have a friend who's parents are from Syria, who was brought up in the U.S. He is your typical (OK, well, we're like that) American, and when cousins visit from the Middle East they're in culture shock. I think if Jim J. did something with a Middle Eastern bent it would be interesting.

Mark
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5.0 out of 5 stars See Jim Jarmusch's Fine First Film! July 22 2011
Format:DVD
Stranger Than Paradise is ace director Jim Jarmusch's first film, and one of his best. It concerns a man in New York City who is reluctant to take in his female cousin for a 10 day stay. She is from Hungary, but knows English and is wise to the man. The man's buddy comes over and takes a shine to the cousin. The cousin leaves for Cleveland and the two men realize they really miss her and decide to take a raod trip to see her. They "kidnap" the woman from the hilariously possessive Hungarian aunt she is staying with, and they all decide to go to Miami for a vacation. A dog racing bet turns everything sour. Then the funniest scene in the film happens! I won't tell you what it is, but you'll laugh for sure. This is deadpan humour at it's best, and don't miss the silent film featurette that comes with the DVD. It's a small gem too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Movie Nov. 8 2003
Format:DVD
Maybe THE perfect movie, very funny, very close to the bone & improves immensely with each viewing.
Back when hip meant wise rather than trendy, I would have tagged it the hippest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise is in the wind Oct. 19 2003
By Porter
Format:DVD
Brilliant deapan humor, slow timely dialog, low budget distinct look, raw though beautiful black and white production and stunning subtle performances by a small well placed cast. When Willie's (Lurie) Hungarian cousin Eva (Balint) comes to stay with him for a few weeks before retreating to Cleveland to stay with her Aunt, we experience, from a fly on the wall perspective, the boring lives of the two unfold. After Willie grows fond of her, he tracks her down in Cleveland along with his buddy Eddie (Edson) in search for something more in their dull existence. The three decide to voyage to Florida to escape the cold and dark environment, only to find similar dullness only in sunnier shades. Brilliant deapan originality and haunting story of three people looking for "Paradise" or any place that doesn't resemble hell. This is the greatest Indie flick ever made.. simple and honest the film's low budget production looks better than most. This one will stay with you and force you to look at our world differently from here on.
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4.0 out of 5 stars slowest film I ever loved June 9 2003
Format:DVD
This is not an exciting film. It is a love story -- a platonic love story about an American, played by John Lurie, who "doesn't even consider himself part of [his] family anymore," who is forced by his mother to host a cousin who has just arrived from Europe. He wants nothing to do with her and her treats her [badly]. He's the kind of guy that wants to be cool, never show his emotions, you know the type. He and his best friend occupy themselves by cheating at poker and going to the track. As far as he is concerned, she's about as uncool as it gets. His cousin barely speaks English, and when she speaks she says what she thinks. That's how it starts out. I don't want to tell you the plot so... if you want to see where it goes check it out for yourself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stranger than you can imagine Dec 1 2002
Format:DVD
I saw this film years ago when it first came out at a little independent theatre in Boston's Back Bay. It has lingered with me all this time, and I finally broke down and bought the DVD. I had to see it again. This is first rate stuff. Jarmusch has done what most directors can only dream of doing, creating a witty, off-beat film on the most thread bare of budgets, driven by gritty compelling characters. The humor is so dry as to leave your throat parched at film's end, but don't be disappointed. It is truly a memorable film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - a masterpiece Oct. 21 2002
Format:DVD
This ranks as one of my favorite films of all time. However, I think one's opinion is affected by whether you see it on the big screen or TV. I remember seeing this in a theater when it was first released and thought it was the most strangely humorous, starkly beautiful, nihilistic, melancholy, touching and insightful thing I'd ever seen. Jim Jarmusch basically launched the independent film movement with "Stranger than Paradise" and while the brilliance of this film has caused me to see all his later work, nothing matches it.
It's sort of a hard film to describe - 'ya just have to see it. But try to catch it on a large screen if you can. Visually, it's just gorgeous. I remember reading somewhere that Jim shot it on some special B & W film stock left over from someone else's project. The stark winter scenes on lake Erie are unforgettable - like celluloid art.
On top of all of this - you get Screamin' Jay Hawkins singing "I Put a Spell on You" (the original, good version not the watered-down later version). I mean, what-more-do-you-want?!?
A little known bit of trivia - the chick who played Eva was a fashion model in NYC at the time and also makes a cameo appearance in the documentary of the NYC underground art/music scene called "Downtown '81" featuring Jean Michel Basquiat, Debbie Harry, James Chance and Tav Falco.
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