Stranger than Paradise

Director: Jim Jarmusch
Screenwriters: Jim Jarmusch

Institute History


Winner of the Camera d’Or for best first feature at the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, Stranger Than Paradise is a bracingly original avant-garde black comedy.

Simple narrative has self-styled downtown hipster Willie (John Lurie) being paid a surprise, and quite unwelcome, visit by Hungarian cousin Eva (Ester Balint). Second section sees Willie and buddy Eddie (Edson) deciding to head for Cleveland to visit Eva, who now lives there with Aunt Lottie (Stark), an ever-complaining old lady who insists upon speaking Hungarian . . .Part three has the trio abandoning the frozen wastes seaside motel and where Willie and Eddie lose most of their money at the dog races. However, when Eva suddenly comes into a huge stash of loot in wildly eccentric fashion, the story manages to come full circle, but with an ironic twist.

Happily, Jarmusch has moved beyond the obvious inherent subject of alienation to fashion a mordant comedy about missed connections, communication and lack thereof, Lead actor Lurie spends much of the running time acting like a boorish lout, but performance ultimately proves enormously winning.

— Tod McCarthy, Variety

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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