Jim Jarmusch and Friends Season Opens at the BFI, London, this September

Jim Jarmusch was one of the central filmmakers involved in the USA indie scene that flourished from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s. Some of his classic works include Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Dead Man (1995) and, most recently, Only Lovers Left Alive (2013). He has continued to remain true to the spirit of independence over his career and produced a number of outstanding films. This special season at the BFI includes Jarmusch’s output and films that have inspired him, besides the re-release of his 1986 production Down By Law.

Jim Jarmusch and Friends celebrates the filmmaker’s continued success in the industry. Many other figures, who made their mark during those fertile years, have gone to Hollywood or faded from memory, having run out of inspiration or sources of finance. But, Jarmusch has remained steadfast, never ceasing to churn out dazzling, idiosyncratic and creative films that counteract the normality of the everyday.

Beginning his career as a musician, Jarmusch took up residence in New York in the late 1970s before heading to film school. His first debut feature, Permanent Vacation (1980), was his graduation project, and the work introduced “lounge lizard” and collaborator John Lurie along with many Jarmusch motifs in their infancy. His first feature was quickly followed by classic titles Stranger Than Paradise and Down By Law, both of which are due to be re-releases by Soda Pictures on 12 September.

Over the years Jarmusch has also produced a number of fascinating screen collaborations, with Joe Strummer and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in Mystery Train (1989), Iggy Pop and Robert Mitchum as supporting cast in the western Dead Man (1995), Forest Whitaker as the pigeon-flying, hit-man in Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai (1999), the compilation Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), featuring cameos from Tom Waits, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Steve Buscemi and GZA and RZA, plus, and most recently, Only Lovers Left Alive (2013).

For those who are unfamiliar with the filmmakers inspiring back catalogue, Jim Jarmusch and Friends is the perfect opportunity to get to grips with his important output. In addition to Jarmusch’s work there will be a programme of films that Jarmusch has either appeared in, Leningrad Cowboys Go America (1989), Blue in the Face (1995), or affiliated with – They Live By Night (1948), as Jarmusch worked as an assistant to Nicholas Ray in the 1970s, 35 Shots of Rum (2008), as Claire Denis assisted on Down By Law.

Jim Jarmusch and Friends, September and October 2014, BFI Southbank, London. Find out more at http://tinyurl.com/lgmen82.

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1. Stranger Than Paradise, Jim Jarmusch, image courtesy of BFI.