“They were just words, written on water.”

Paterson is evocative in the way that a familiar lover is: it is slow, attentive, tender, and absolutely ordinary. this is not exciting nor electric. it’s dreamy without being romantic, meticulous without being heavy. Paterson isn’t an ordinary man who becomes extraordinary, and his life is not exceptional. he’s quiet, not tortured. he has a small, private passion, and that is which marks his life.

routine trumps ritual here. Jarmusch is mindful of the everyday, but he does not elevate the banal to the sacred. he just simply lets things be. and what they are is tepid most of the time, sometimes cool, and even less often full of fire. the moments of fire are truly striking: the small girl out by the old factories, the tourist who reads Paterson for who and what he really is. but this isn’t a film about Paterson’s heartbreak or failure as an artist. it is just a little glimpse into his little life: his home, the bar, his wife, the bus routes he drives.

there is something really precious about art that is mindful of its own scope. this does not try to be greater than it is, this does not minimize its own efforts. it looks out and sees a certain boundary, a certain border—of possibility, of aspirations, of reality. it does not despair, though. it reveres in small glances, small moments, small victories that are of no consequence. Paterson announces itself with detailed and long and patient scenes, breathing itself into being with a gentle and kind sigh.

it’s not the words on the page, but the breaks between lines, the blank space left so something greater can be felt: ah-ha.

“I breathe poetry.”
“So you write poetry?”

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