Sound On Sight Podcast #122: Jim Jarmusch Special –

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When you think of the American directors who’ve embodied excellence in American independent-film in the past four decades, Jim Jarmusch quickly comes to mind. Peers like Spike Lee, Steven Soderbergh and Gus Van Sant have successfully moved back and forth between the mainstream and independent approach, Jarmusch sticked to the idiosyncratic style he became known for, making the movies he wants, with little regard for current fashion or commercial viability. On this hour of the Sound on Sight podcast, Rick, Simon and returning guest, Chrystina Benyo, discuss The Limits of Control, as well as two of his most beloved films, Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai and Dead Man.

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18 Comments
  1. Bobby Miller says

    The photograph above of Jim Jarmusch is copyrighted by me and I own all rights to my work. Please remove it from your achieves.

    Bobby Miller

    1. Justine Smith says

      sincere apologies, we have removed it.

      1. Bobby Miller says

        Thank you.

  2. […] Listen to our review from podcast #122 […]

  3. Christina says

    Re Limits of Control: did not hear the radio discussion;but, I am interested in others’take on what these limits appear to encompass. Throughout the film there were glimpses of human connection between the protagonist and the characters he encountered; each character perhaps symbolizing essential human (spiritual and/or mysterious) energies/needs/wants… could these connections signify limits/edges where control was shared/influenced by forces beyond the individual?

    1. Ricky says

      I am not quite confident that we had enough screen time with anyone of the characters to truly justify this idea. I do want to give this film another look, but I am sure I still won’t quite like it.

  4. […] Episode 122: Jim Jarmusch & The Limits of Control […]

  5. Petra says

    Thanks for this episode. I’m a Jim Jarmusch fan from way back, and you three definitely said more and less than is necessary. That’s a pretty good recipe for any film discussion!

    “Dead Man” is an important movie, it’s also significant that it’s a “western.” One of you said that it’s basically a road movie with an incidentally western setting. But I think that “Dead Man” advances the western genre. The usual “how the west was won” narrative is also how the winners lost their souls. In “Dead Man” we get to see the progress of souls.

    One small correction–the historical William Blake was not only a writer, but a visual artist as well. He combined words with images and created his own engraving technique, where he wrote and drew directly on the engraving plate.

    I haven’t seen “Limits of Control” yet. Looking forward to it, though.

    1. Ricky says

      Your small correction is noted. I was the one that said the film could have been told in any other form outside westerns so long as it sticks with being a road movie. I agree that by making it a western Jarmush makes the wisest choice. I am so glad we are getting feedback on this show. To be honest I am a little disappointed with its number of downloads. Unfortunately people seem more interested in Terminator. Also I just want to quickly note that I am starting to warm up to The Limits of Control more. However I do still need to see it one more time to make my final decision.

  6. El Espíritu de la colmena says

    Ugh, whenever you do this type of show it almost always sucks. Why is it that every time you guys do an “Art House” director it always turns into a bunch of wanking and suckling at the teat of whatever director you are talking about? The way these films are discussed is really uninteresting. It actually makes me not want to see these movies, or erase the ones I have seen from my memory because you make them sound so boring.

    It would be wonderful if these shows were a bit more critical and balanced. Often the discussion is very lopsided. Oh and keep your “interpretations” short, your ramblings are not as interesting as you think they are. A touch of humor would also be nice. You guys take yourselves way too seriously during these shows.

    I love the show generally and feel that there is potential to honor these great films and artists, but in a less pretentious and more appealing way.

    1. Angela Ramsay says

      Actually the review on Limits of Control makes me really want to see the film. In fact I prefer it when SOS does shows on art house films. I had a completely different reaction to this episode than El Espíritu de la colmena had.

      I find it interesting to hear what other people’s interpretations of these films are and I have to disagree with him claiming that it sounds pretentious. I have seen Dead Man and I really enjoyed the film but I cannot say the same for Ghost Dog. Personally I like the diversity of the show. From Terminator to Jim Jarmush and Sam Raimi to Peter Greenaway. It is always refreshing than the usual banter about Hollywood films. Keep up the good work guys.

    2. Ricky D says

      I saddens me to read a comment from what a loyal listener informing us that we actually turn him off from seeing certain art house films, considering that I love most of these movies.
      In deciding to do a film review show I anticipated the possibility of receiving negative feedback. We critique movies week after week so I guess having our listeners critique our show is fair. However it is impossible for a movie to win over every member in its audience and the same goes for us. If we take out our interpretations of these films and keep the review focused on aspects like the cinematography and acting; we would bore a good portion of listeners. Generally we receive feedback requesting our interpretations of these movies and what the film makers are trying to say.
      It is also impossible for us to promise each review will be critically balanced. We never discuss the films before hand and even if we did and all agree in liking or disliking a film, not one of us would change our point of view for the sake of making the show sound a bit more interesting.
      For the most part our show is full of humor. I think it varies depending on the hosts. Also it is hard to not come off as sounding pretentious when reviewing a Jim Jarmush film. I will however keep note to make my interpretations a bit shorter.

  7. Ricky says

    I really think when doing a director like Jarmush we should keep it to two movies or extend the show. There is always too much to say. Unfortunately we record live from a radio station so we have to respect the time limit.

  8. Márcio says

    Great show. Nice to see you guys (and girl) covering something a little more chewy, after these last few weeks of more mainstream fare. I haven’t seen LOC yet so I can’t chime in on it. I just have one question, no love for Stranger Than Paradise? You guys never mentioned it as one of his best, it´s easily one of my favorites, and has some of the most memorable lines in Jarmusch’s body of work. Keep up the good work.

    1. Ricky says

      We have so little time despite the one hour running time to mention every thing we would want to discuss. Technically if you take out the trailer clips, music, intro and adds we are left with about 4o minutes to discuss three films. That is the downfall to recording live from a radio station which is why we are trying to get people to donate to our show so we can buy some better equipment and start recording from our own studio where we won`t have to worry about a time constaint.
      thanks for the feedback. Hopefully the Jarmush show will get more hits so we can do another one soon.

  9. Anna says

    I have to disagree and agree with Chrystina and Rick on this show. Jim Jarmush never spoon feeds his audience. In Ghost Dog the viewers never anticipate a scene involving the killing of a Black Bear regardless of the earlier conversation. Considering the ice cream vendor tells him the story in the New York ghetto, first time viewers won`t consider a bear to appear on screen. So when we reach the scene by the country road it comes as a shock. Also in regards to The Limits of Control, Jarmush never follows any tradition film methods so it would be impossible to anticipate any of the events that follow. I feel that both hosts were at one point agreeing yet not listening to each other. I personally like all three films and I agree with Chrytina on her views on his latest work.

    The Limits of Control is about the structure of a symphony, and to help us to notice this fact, Schubert is name-dropped a couple of times. One of the most immediately noticeable aspects of the movie is the constant repetition of phrases, in different contexts and with different inflections. At one point in the podcast Ricky mentions this familiar motif in some of Jarmush`s films yet somehow he missed it in his latest work of art.

    I must say I did find it interesting to hear you guys debate your views on his work. My only complaint is the reviews seemed rather rushed. Perhaps next time you can stay on topic a bit longer. It seems that you all had more to say on The Limits of Control which kept creeping it`s way back in to the conversation as they show progressed.

    1. Simon H. says

      I, too, would have liked some more time to hash things out – more importantly, though, I would like to have made my reasons for disliking the film more thorough and precise – I get a little tripped-up sometimes when we’re working live. Still a fun episode, though.

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