Having built up a cult following with a string of off-beat movies including Down By Law and Mystery Train, Jim J armusch returns with episodic taxi tale Night On Earth. Trevor Johnston talked to him.

ho’d be the world‘s coolest moviemaker, eh? Everywhere he goes. poor old Jim Jarmusch find interviewers all have the same tired ideas about him. ‘They make all these assumptions.’ sighs the man himself, characteristic silvery quiffoff-setting a casual threads combo of black, black and black. ‘Like I‘m so pretentious that I actually dye my hair white. That I wear black clothes and make black and white movies because I'm the quintessential postmodern New York hipster. I want to get it straight right now that I don‘t put any

‘Yeah, I’m surprised to be here, but it it all

ended tomorrow then that’d be OK. I’d just

wait for the next thing that lite was waiting to throw at me.’

colour in my hair, I‘ve been wearing black since I was sixteen and I didn’t exactly choose to make black and white movies because it was an extension of my physical being . . .‘

‘They always use this word “hip”,’ he says with a curl of the lip, obviously enjoying a good old rant, ‘and I‘ve never been able to understand it. My movies aren't about style, they aren‘t about fashion, they‘re about people and relationships. The stuffI do doesn’t easily fit into any particular pigeonhole, so writers sometimes struggle to put a tag on it. Unfortunately, “terminally hip“ seems to be the best a lot of them can come up with!‘

Although he’s more relaxed in person than it might sound in print, at least I now know which words to strike from the thesaurus when describing Jarmusch’s latest offering, A transglobal taxicab comedy, Night On Earth strings together five different vignettes in five different cities, each observing in wry detail the singular relationship between passenger and driver as they speed towards their destination. Assembling a starrier cast than ever before, Winona Ryder pops up in the first reel, a feisty LA cabbie deeply unimpressed by high-powered Hollywood agent Gena Rowlands, Armin Mueller-Stahl tackles a lighter role as an amiable East German immigrant cabbie taking a lesson in Brooklyn streetwisdom from Spike Lee veteran Giancarlo Esposito, and the Paris section boasts the return of Beatrice Betty Blue Dalle as a blind girl who opens the eyes of prejudiced driver lsaach de Bankole (familiar from Claire Denis’s acclaimed Chocolat). Rome gets personified by Roberto Benigni and the sort of scabrous cabbie’s tales which give his priestly fare (Paolo Bonacelli) a heart attack, and we end

6'l‘hc List 3] July— 13 August 1992