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Jim Jarmusch's Biography

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Jim Jarmusch was born on 22 January 1954 in Akron, Ohio.

The son of a film critic, Jim Jarmusch was obsessed by film from an early age. After graduating he spent a year in Paris, immersing himself in the French life and culture, in particular the last vestiges of the French New Wave movement. He was influenced by the likes of Truffaut and Godard amongst others, who made a lasting impression on him.

After completing a degree in English Literature at Colombia University, Jim Jarmusch realized he had to move into the world of film, his real passion and he enrolled at New York's Tisch School of Arts. Once there, he was taken under the wing of legendary filmmaker Nicholas Ray who helped him with his first film Permanent Vacation (1980). Despite this, Jarmusch left without a degree.

Four years later, Stranger Than Paradise (1984) proved that Jim Jarmusch had the credentials to make serious pictures. The film earned him several awards including the Camera d'or at the Cannes Film Festival for best first film. One theme that runs through Jarmusch's work is his fascination with music. Indeed, he himself appeared with a band, The Del-Byzanteens, at around the time of the film’s release.

Elegantly filmed in black and white, Jarmusch's next film Down by Law (1986) with Tom Waits, was a masterpiece of wit and style, the story of three cell mates on the run. This was followed in 1989 by Mystery Train, starring another musician, this time Joe Strummer from punk band The Clash and in 1990 by Night on Earth. Less well received by the critics, the films were perhaps seen as being clever but lacking in anything particularly different from his earlier work. Jim Jarmusch was seen as having style but little variation.

It wasn't until 1995 with Dead Man that he was able to silence the critics and prove that he could deal with major issues such as death and the American heartland. Johnny Depp stars in grainy black and white against a harsh Western backdrop.

In 1999 Jarmusch made Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, which uses the gangster formula to interesting effect and Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) returns Jarmusch to comedy in a film of separate sketches released earlier in his career.

In 2005, Jim Jarmusch directed Broken Flowers, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and starred Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton, Frances Conroy and Julie Delpy.

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