Stranger Than Paradise
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Time Out saysA beautiful little independent film that paved the way for the more accessible (but perhaps less exhilarating) delights of Down by Law, this three-part road-movie-with-a-difference is shot in long, static black-and-white takes, and features an excellent score that straddles both Screaming Jay Hawkins and Bartok. The story is slight: cool, laconic New Yorker Lurie (of Lounge Lizards fame) reluctantly plays host when his young female cousin arrives on a visit from Hungary. When the girl finally disappears to Ohio to stay with an eccentric old aunt, Lurie suddenly finds himself feeling lonely, and he and his buddy Edson slope off westwards in search of...whatever. It's an ironic fable about exile, peopled by carefully, economically observed kooks who, at least after the first half-hour, are drawn with considerable warmth and generosity. Not a lot to it, certainly, but the acting and performances combine to produce an obliquely effective study of the effect of landscape upon emotion, and the wry, dry humour is often quite delicious.