Jim Jarmusch's next project, tentatively called The Limits of Control, has been acquired by Focus Features for worldwide distribution. Jarmusch will start shooting the feature this February in Spain. It looks like Focus was happy with the reception of Jarmusch's last feature, Broken Flowers, so they're hoping for a similar success this time out. It's good news for Jarmusch, whose films have sometimes had a difficult time finding distribution, or at least advertised distribution, in the past.
Broken Flowers didn't impress me. It was alright to sit through but afterwards all I was left with was a feeling of unbearable boredom. Bill Murray is severely overrated and that film did nothing for him and it's impressive roster of actresses (Swinton, Lange, Delpy, Stone) However, I adore Coffee & Cigarettes, Night on Earth and Down By Law. Jarmusch can swing between incredible tedium and greatness - often depending on his actors. Look at those involved in those three films; Tom Waits, Gena Rowlands, Winona Ryder, Roberto Benigni, Iggy Pop, Cate Blanchett (her short vignette in C&C in which she plays herself and her cousin, is in my mind, her best performance), Alfred Molina, RZA. A veritable who's who of cool in the film and music worlds.
Focus' CEO James Schamus remarked in a statement, "Jim Jarmusch defines what it means to be an independent filmmaker for audiences all over the world, and we're delighted to rejoin with him following our success together with Broken Flowers." That's only partially PR speak, since Jarmusch probably did as much for the creation of contemporary independent film as John Cassavetes.
According to the film's press release, The Limits of Control is "the story of a mysterious loner, a stronger, whose activities remain meticulously outside of the law." Which makes him sound like nearly every other Jarmusch protagonist, but that's probably a good thing. He's played by Isaach De Bankolé (Raymond in Ghost Dog), and is completing an unexplained job that causes him to travel across Spain. The eminent Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love, Hero) will be working as cinematographer while Eugenio Caballero (Pan's Labyrinth) is production designer.
Nothing else is known about the film. All we can say here at Paste is that it's about time.
That reminds me of another Jarmusch-related oddity, the pair of films called Smoke and Blue in the Face. Their director was Wayne Wang, but Jarmusch appears in Blue in the Face and their inimitable feel of shambling NY cool is definitely part of his ethos. Never has a piece of entertainment seemed so engineered to my taste, gape at the ensemble of actors, musicians and writers that collaborated on them: Jarmusch, Harvey Keitel. Michael J. Fox, Lou Reed, Lily Tomlin, Stockard Channing, David Byrne and Paul "Godlike Genius" Auster. Wow, that's some impressive networking going on there. Smoke is the more conventional narrative film (as if anything penned by Auster could be called conventional) and Blue In The Face is a basically a collection of extras, leftovers, jokes and singalong.
Oops, sort of got off the point there. I did have a point though, it being that part of the thing I loved so much about those films was their looseness, their humour and their sense of community. Broken Flowers left me cold. Here's hoping Jim'll revert to the old Jarmuschian charm.