Adam Driver plays a bus driver named Paterson who drives the Paterson route in Paterson, New Jersey. The world seems patterned and routine, and in many cases it is, with Paterson Jim Jarmusch reminds us about the serenity in practicing a ritualistic lifestyle. That being said, being stuck in a loop does seem maddening, that’s one of the several reasons I quit the track team, but there is a way to avoid madness and conserve serenity. How? Make art, rupture your pattern with self-expression and your routine lifestyle will feel like its full of infinite possibilities. And that’s because it is, write a book, write a review, make a painting, jot down some poetry, you don’t need to expose it to the world, but the simple act of creating art is sufficient enough to keep you sane and maintaining you truly feeling alive.
In Paterson, we follow a week in the life of Paterson, a bus driver who also has a knack for poetry. Everyday he wakes up ritualistically on at the same time without the use of any alarm system. This is a man who has accepted his routine and takes joy in living by it. Once up, he sets off to work, writes some verses in his secret notebook, drives his bus around and returns home to his beloved Laura (played by the wonderful Golshifteh Farahani) and after having dinner with her sets out to Marvin, his canine arch-enemy. Paterson’s motions through life are so repetitive his dog . has even caught on to when he’s supposed to plop down outside as Paterson enters the same bar he visits every night. The structure is set from day one and repeats in that same manner once the seven days conclude, but what makes Paterson such a lovely tribute to the beauty among the mundane are those tiny moments sprinkled across Paterson’s existence.
Paterson does the same thing everyday, but he encounters someone new everyday, someones who introduce him to a entirely different way of looking at the world every single day. These sudden encounters and events that seem to surge out of nothingness don’t detract from Paterson rhythmic lifestyle, on the contrary, if his life were metamorphosed into a poem, these unexpected events would mark a stanza’s climax. These sparks of the unforeseen bring the necessary rupture to maintain sanity whilst living in a loop, these are the moments that trigger the inspiration that transforms into self-expression in the form of art. Once you boil it down, even the creation of art can be arranged into some sort of pattern, but we must never forget each individual has his own pattern. Everyone has their own way of living and everyone holds a different universe made up of thoughts in their brain and as a result everyone is inclined to express their own personal poem. Whether that’s submitting everything to black & white color scheme as in the case of Laura, finding new ways to pester your owners as in the case of Marvin or writing beautiful poems like Paterson, everyone must express themselves.
Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson is a love letter to self-expression, something he so delightfully indulges in whenever crafting a new film. Paterson patterned style punctuates the unforeseen all the more and marks its significance to our lifestyle. Jarmusch marks both the serenity in abiding to a routine and sparks of surprise that keep or life from devolving into monotony. Paterson is a beautiful poem on film penned by the one and only Jim Jarmusch.