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enigmas of desire,
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This review is from: The Limits of Control [DVD]  (DVD)
The clues are there right from the get go, before the film begins we are told that this is a film brought to us by `Pointblank' films. Jarmusch sets us up for a movie about movies or at least a certain type of movie, can I use the word "cool"? Like Boorman's revenge thriller we have the tonic mohair suit, sharp as a razor, shiny like the smile of a killer. What we don't get is the corkscrew time structure and frenetic pacing `cause in the end this is a film that, as usual with Jarmusch, relies on the episodic ballad structure, like a long Bob Dylan song or a "woke up this mornin'" blues.
`The Limits of Control' is a film about the poetics of space and Jarmusch seems to insist that the cinema itself is marked by this tendency or at least the films he is interested in watching and making. By train, (the favourite form of movie transport, an inbuilt metaphor) and by plane our sartorially elegant, monosyllabic protagonist shifts across the interior of Spain in a movement without end, in defiance of Hollywood road movie conventions there is no telos. Encounters that promise sex end in solitary reverie, encounters that promise information end in similar modes. This is a film of the `drift', there are clear salutes to Guy Debord and maybe even Walter Benjamin(?) All we can be certain about is movies; Godard's `Le Mepris', Ray's "In A Lonely Place', Wells' `Lady From Shanghai', Hitchcock's `Suspicion' all are name checked or alluded to.
In the end what is on show here is Jarmusch's ease with the medium, he drifts, in the best possible way (echoes of Guy Debord or even Benjamin?) through the landscape of the inconsequential stopping only to admire paintings, (can a painting be a non-sequitur?) the texture of bricks, of fabric. There are moments of brilliance, watch the tango sequence for a master class in editing and lighting (the great Christopher Doyle lenses by the way.) If this reminds me of anything it is Guerin's equally contemplative `In The City Of Sylvia'. The difference is of course that in Jarmusch's world desire's arrow aims at a target that is much more difficult to presume. The central character, a typical Jarmusch hero, leads us, without guile, through the calle of Sevilla, towards an inconclusive moment, the screen goes dark, but there is no end, Jarmuch's cinema is just pausing, waiting for the next verse.