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Mystery Train

  • Directed by Jim Jarmusch
  • United States, 1989, 110 mins., English

Jarmusch fashions a triptych of stories centered around Memphis’s Arcade Hotel while tapping into the intensely American mythology of Elvis and the birth of mainstream rock ‘n’ roll. Two Japanese teenagers (Masatoshi Nagase and Youki Kudoh) tour Memphis and Sun Studios; a newly-widowed Italian woman (Nicoletta Braschi) prepares to leave Memphis to return her deceased husband’s body to Rome; and a lost, burgeoning rock ‘n’ roll singer (The Clash’s Joe Strummer) goes on a bender with two locals (Steve Buscemi and Rick Aviles). Meanwhile, the Arcade’s desk manager, played by the amazing Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, amusedly looks over these diverse dramas. Beautifully languid and shot through with bursts of deep color (cinematography by longtime Jarmusch collaborator Robby Müller), Mystery Train is a key film of the 1980s and one of Jarmusch’s finest.

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Other Films by Jim Jarmusch

Dead Man

Few cinematic collaborations have been more perfectly cast than Dead Man, Jarmusch’s legendary, incendiary “psychedelic Western.” The film follows William Blake (Johnny Depp), a downcast Cleveland accountant heading West to a new job. Rebuffed immediately, Blake quickly becomes embroiled in domestic scandal and is forced to flee, taking up with Nobody (Gary Farmer), a Native

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

A highly idiosyncratic take on the samurai film, Jarmusch’s tale of a lone, pigeon-keeping hit man (Forest Whitaker) removes the warrior from feudal Japan and places him in modern-day Jersey City. Ghost Dog, as he is known, is a strict follower of Hagakure (the way of the samurai). He spends his days at the park