The Last of the Indies

Lynn Hirschberg in the New York Times Magazine:

31indieAlthough he bristles at the title — his expression hardens, and his face starts to resemble a cloudy day with thunder threatening — Jim Jarmusch is the last major truly independent film director in America. This is not a statement about his sensibility, although it is true that his minimalist cinematic style and his ability to deftly cross-pollinate pop culture, Eastern philosophy and classic movie genres have made him a unique presence in film for the past 20 years. While other directors may be hailed for their originality and independent point of view, Jarmusch, unlike Quentin Tarantino or pretty much any other auteur, has never made a film under a studio’s watch. Ever since his debut feature, ”Stranger Than Paradise,” in 1984, which cost $150,000, grossed $2.5 million in North America, won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and permanently upended the idea of independent film as an intrinsically inaccessible avant-garde form, he has owned and controlled all of his movies.

More here.