Chris Vognar’s Screening Room: STRANGER THAN PARADISE

Director Jim Jarmusch
Year 1984
Starring John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson
Rating R
Run Time 89min
Age Policy

18 and up; Children 6 and up will be allowed only with a parent guardian. No children under the age of 6 will be allowed.

More Info IMDb

Nearly thirty years ago, Jim Jarmusch launched onto the international film scene with his second feature film following PERMANENT VACATION, a part-road trip, part-minimalist East Village masterpiece: STRANGER THAN PARADISE.

Made for about $90,000, the film took the film festival circuit by storm as the American independent feature film of the year, winning a Special Jury Prize at Sundance, the Golden Lion at Locarno, and lastly the prestigious Camera d’Or, awarded for best first theatrically-distributed feature film.

Shot and composed to the hypnotic and essential score by composer/actor John Lurie, with some Screamin’ Jay Hawkins thrown in for good measure, STRANGER THAN PARADISE proves a humble amalgam of talent, a bunch of soon-to-be-famous friends who made a movie together. STRANGER THAN PARADISE is the starting point for collaborations that would last a lifetime – most notably Jarmusch, Lurie, and his then-girlfriend, no w wife, Sara Driver.

The music is of a time and place, just as the story of the film affects an aimless nostalgia for nothing in particular. Characteristic of young men and women of the 80s, STRANGER THAN PARADISE also rings true with today’s youth, who similarly search for relevance in an increasingly unfamiliar world. Come and join us for the ride. (Sam Prime)

About Chris Vognar's Screening Room:

I don't look at the '80s as some magical time for American filmmaking. But this was the decade I became, for better or worse, a celluloid junkie, a teenager passing lonely hours at the theater or with the VCR. '80s movies helped shaped me. I take them personally.

I'll be hosting screenings of some of my '80s favorites the second Thursday of every month from July through December, with a discussion after every movie. These aren't necessarily my favorite movies of the decade (though some of them are). They all, however, left a mark. My programming goal was to avoid the obvious but maintain popular appeal. My thanks to the Alamo Drafthouse, where the '80s were never forgotten, for collaborating on this series.

Chris Vognar
Movie Critic, The Dallas Morning News

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