Night On Earth – “Joe le taxi”

Taking a cab at night, who’s never done that?

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Night On Earth was directed by Jim Jarmusch in 1990, with this simple idea of filming interactions between a taxi driver and his clients.

There’s a special and unique bond which’s created when you get in a cab, and tell the driver where you want him to take you at. And at night, this bond gets even stronger, because, you both, are more vulnerable than in the daylight.

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The movie is actually divided in five sketches, set in five diverse cities: Los Angeles, New-York, Paris, Rome and Helsinki. They present different type of people you can meet between sunset and sunrise, and they tell stories, with oblique humor and sometimes a moral at the end.

Every sketch begins the same way: stereotypical shots of the city. Then, we are introduced to the characters, and learn about their lives at the same time they do as well. Each one of them, will retain something of that night, and will feel some changes.
Even if it is ephemeral, this person will stay with you a while and be your companion.

In Los Angeles, you’d be convinced by a 21 years old taxi driver (Winona Rider), who is satisfied with her all written life, who doesn’t want any changes and who refuses to be an actress as proposed the character of Gena Rowlands to her, that life is sometimes more enjoyable when it is secure. This is the myth of the American Dream being destroyed.

In New-York, you will just assist at friendly interactions, a ephemeral bond that is created. And the hard integration of foreigners is society; here, of a german east man, left without a family, and who escaped from a communist and poor country to try to have a better life in the city where everything seems possible.

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In Paris, you’re glad that a tough blind girl shut the mouth of a man full of prejudices. And makes him question himself somehow.

In Rome, you laugh about a sinner who killed a priest with his sexual confessions.

And at last, in Helsinki, you learn that, there will always be someone with a lot more and worse problems, than you. So be happy with what you have.

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I don’t know if this Jarmusch movie necessitated an article but, it somehow made me feel a little better and I didn’t see those two hours passed. Sometimes the simplest things in life are the better ones.

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