14 December 2009

Life Is Worth Nothing

Along with Terence Mallick, I think Jim Jarmusch is probably my favourite American filmmaker. His latest film, "The Limits of Control" predictably opened to mixed reviews but again I was sucked in. Jarmusch is a master of framing and capturing detail. Every scene in this flick is framed to perfection. An action film without action. It's fucking beautiful.

The title comes from the WS Burroughs essay but doesn't really reference it too much. On the surface, the main theme seems to be how art is controlled by 'the system' in order to control the everyman but there are limits to this control. The perception of reality (the reflection) is made more present and relevant than reality itself, and it is this what controls us. Reality is in the details and the film examines them slowly. The daily movements, landscapes, cups of coffee. Perhaps, control is revealed to be an illusion, that one can train to escape the shackles of, by careful examination of the small things and not sweating the weightier bigger picture.

Culture, language, art, politics are all illusory forms of control that one can be freed from by a shift in perception. "The universe has no center or edge." "Reality is arbitrary" the lone man utters before he finally kills the personification of control, which is Bill Murray's character.

Life is worth nothing. Everything is nothing. Nothing is everything. To reference 'Ghost Dog,' "Emptiness is form. Form is emptiness." When one understands this they become free.