“Even if one’s head were to be suddenly cut off, he should be able to do one more action with certainty.” Jarmusch’s first narrative feature after Dead Man was another revisionist genre film: a mashup of the mob movie and samurai film with one foot placed in ’60s hitman chic (Melville’s Le Samourai and Suzuki’s Branded to Kill are two key reference points) and the other in ’90s hip-hop culture (the soundtrack is by RZA, of Wu-Tang fame). Forest Whitaker plays an impassive master killer who goes by Ghost Dog, lives on a roof in an unnamed city, quotes generously from samurai manuals, and communicates exclusively by carrier pigeon. He’s another of Jarmusch’s iconic loners, a cross-cultural ambassador defined by his artistic taste and surrounded by an aura of self-assured cool—not to mention the key bridge between the hapless urban wanderers of the director’s earlier works and the imperturbable Zen heroes of Only Lovers Left Alive and The Limits of Control.

Screening with:

Big Audio Dynamite – Sightsee M.C.
Jim Jarmusch | 5m