Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Jim Jarmusch

OK, time for an inspirational and thought provoking quote from the great film director Jim Jarmusch:

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. . And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”

I found this quote after I watched “Dead Man,” an utterly astounding and unique film – seriously, I am really into film (a love I’m sure will begin to reveal itself over time in this blog), and I can honestly say that this appears to be one of those movies for which there is no real precedent. And yet here is this quote from Jarmusch…

This black and white surreal expression of some very deep existential themes is, of course, not going to be for everyone. But I found it just mind-blowing. It seemed to be about the birth of America, a meditation on violence, life and death, the struggle to find meaning in a brutal and harsh world, the beauty and absurdity of life, the idea that reality is a moving construct, the exploration of everything in life that is unknowable but yet we somehow sense is real, and what (if anything) lies beyond death. Add to this an absolutely haunting soundtrack that was apparently improvised by Neil Young – a single, beautifully distorted electric guitar – and you get a film that seems to be an uncategorizable statement of stunning originality.

So what are we to make of Jarmusch’s quote?

Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent…”