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Stranger Than Paradise (The Criterion Collection)

3.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson, Cecillia Stark, Danny Rosen
  • Directors: Jim Jarmusch
  • Writers: Jim Jarmusch
  • Producers: Sara Driver, Otto Grokenberger
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Digital Sound, Mono, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Hungarian
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Sept. 4 2007
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000SFJ4HW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #39,001 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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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.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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 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.

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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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Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie about 15 years ago, in Iran, with a bad quality and under a treble cultural condition. Books and publications were censored and watching videotapes were banned by law. We had to hide them under our shirts when we wanted to take them out. All these, could lead you to a kind of mentality that finds the source of all your sufferings in the society and culture you are living in.
I remember watching the movie shocked me because of its simplicity, its concise and beautiful dialogue and its unique visual language. There are a lot ot silences in the movie when people sit there, do something very simple (like drinking beers or watching Tom & Jerry on TV) but the only thing that comes out of the picture is their solitude. The fade-outs and fade-ins of the movie makes watching it like collecting some forgotten memories.
The movie was so tangible for me. Two guys walk on the snowy "wasteland" kind of cityscape of Cleveland saying "you go somewhere new, and you think something is different, but everything is the same." To American viewer the movie may look like a movie about America. To me, however, it was -and it is- a movie about human solitude, about the impossibility of communication among people. Virginia Wolf once said "human experiences can not be transferred to the others, this is the secret of human loneliness" (sorry, ... I translated it from the Persian text I have read. I'm sure the original English is more beautiful!) "Stranger than Paradise" is about this impossibility.
Watching the movie in Iran, reminded me of how the human solitude is coming from somewhere beyond stupidity of political systems.
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Format: DVD
"Stranger Than Paradise" (1984) is directed by Jim Jarmusch (Deadman, Night on Earth, Mystery Train). The film is about Eva, a young Hungarian woman who comes America to visit her aunt, but who ends up staying with her cousin Willie for ten days since her aunt is in the hospital. This extremely slow but dry humoured film gradually begins to percolate as the two start to become accustomed to one another. Willie lives in one of the most exciting cities in the world (New York), but one would never know it as he looks terminally bored. The first half hour is basically them watching tv into the late hours of the night, rarely saying anything to one another, and barely keeping their eyes open. Willie's favourite food is tv dinners even though as Eva points out the meat doesn't even look like meat. Eva, Willie and Willie's friend Eddie in the end meet up again in Cleveland where Eva has been living with her aunt. They decide to take a trip to Florida, but as Eddie says, no matter where they go every place looks the same, as they stand about aimlessly on railroad tracks in the bleak snow on the outskirts of some industrial looking location. This bone dry humoured film speaks about the tedium of directionless lives as they scrape through life, but shows a gentle affection for these aimless beings who find some solace amongst themselves. The film ends with beautiful irony with all three separated by mischance but searching for the others. Even in their alienation and aimlessness in the end they gravitate to one another as if that is all they have to hold onto.
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