Paterson is about routine. Every day, the titular bus driver/poet, played by Adam Driver, wakes up beside his sleeping wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), and dutifully goes to work. The film is structured like a weekly agenda book, with each day fully delineated from the last. There’s a sense that the job offers Paterson—formerly a military man, the movie hints—some kind of comfort. A respite from chaos. Yet it’s not something director Jim Jarmusch personally relates to.
“My motto’s always been: it’s hard to get lost if you don’t know where you’re going,” Jarmusch says. “The best plan is no plan. I’m the happiest and most productive when I’m generating ideas.”
For Paterson, having an interior mental space to meditate on his poetry just before his shift begins seems virtually essential to the creation of his art. “He likes having that regimented life,” Jarmusch explains. “It allows him to drift and receive things for the creative part of his life.”
Originally published on Fandor (January 4, 2017).