Sunday, 11 November 2012

Night on Earth (1991)

Night on Earth,1991,USA
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Stars: Winona Ryder, Gena Rowlands & Roberto Benigni
Paris Driver: Don't blind people usually wear dark glasses?
Blind Woman: Do they? I've never seen a blind person.

Still riding a high after watching Jim Jarmusch's 'Mystery Train' on Friday night,  I decided to check out another Jarmusch anthology film, that being his film being told from 5 separate taxi cabs in 5 different cities on the same night, 'Night on Earth'

The film begins with a segment taking place in Los Angeles, which shows a heavy smoking young taxi driver, whom takes a fare from a Hollywood executive. The second takes place in New York, where a kind East German immigrant is serving his first day as a cab driver in the big city and struggles with controlling the vehicle, he picks up a streetwise passenger named YoYo who attempts to teach him about life in America and how to drive a car. The next segment leaves America and takes place in Paris, which shows a driver picks up a blind passenger and struggles to understand the way she lives. The fourth is in Rome, and shows an eccentric and mischievous taxi driver pick up a bishop and confesses his wild sins to him. the final segment takes place in Helsinki

The films opening segment which takes place in Los Angeles, stars Winona Ryder as the tomboy taxi driver and Gene Rowlands as a Hollywood executive, its a nice little segment that advocates being contempt with your place in life, buts its overshadowed by much more meaningful segments to come.

The second segment residing from New York, is a thoroughly enjoyable little tale, it shows a German taxi driver by the name of Helmut whom can see the beauty in the city that hes passenger (or driver) YoYo and hes Sister in law Angela takes for granted. Its a very nice segment that features some good performances from Armin Mueller-Stahl, Giancarlo Esposito & Rosie Perez.

Third takes place in Paris, and is a simple but effective segment that features a Paris cab driver,Isaach De Bankolé, attempting to understand the life of a blind woman,Béatrice Dalle, another nice little segment that shows that no matter our disabilities or shortcomings, we are all equal.

Next we go to Rome, and follow eccentric and jokey cab driver Gino, portrayed by Academy Award winner Roberto Benigni, who while roaming the streets of Rome picks up a bishop and proceeds to confess his raunchy misdoings in the past. This segment is more played for laughs and of course Benigni specializes in that area.

The fifth and final segment of the film takes place in Helsinki, of course I wouldn't really refer to Helsinki as being as well known as the places that have already been depicted in this film, but it results in the films strongest segment. Matti Pellonpaa's performance as the cab driver Mika is exceptional, hes speech about the loss of his daughter is incredible. The most human and realistic part of the film, and definitely the films best segment.

I wouldn't say I loved the film as much as I did 'Mystery Train' but I would say that I loved the themes the film addressed through its five segments. I'm a great admirer of Jarmusch's work and this is no exception, I wasn't as utterly absorbed by 'Night on Earth' as I hoped to be, but I was absorbed none the less.

Quick rate of the segments:

- Los Angeles **
- New York ***
- Paris **1/2
- Rome **1/2
- Helsinki ***1/2

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