By Nevin Ulusoy

Routine. The word gives us the feeling of infinite boredom, life not flowing but is stuck somewhere. Knowing exactly what will happen the next day, the day following the next, on and on like that. Silent waters all around. A kind of life like a dreamless slumber. However, even in dreamless slumber, we breathe, we feel life surrounding us. When we open our eyes, feeling the pumping of our hearts, our minds full of scenes, words, life salutes us. Silence also means peace and peace should be cherished, flower of the mind.

“Paterson”, a film by Jim Jarmusch, tells us the story of a one week routine of a bus driver and poet named Paterson. Paterson is also the name of the largest city in New Jersey. The film shows us delicate parts of a seemingly never-changing life. It also makes us ask what makes a person’s life satisfactory, where we should look for happiness. Adam Driver acts as Paterson and Golshifteh Farahani is in the role of his wife, Laura. It competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and won the Palm Dog Award. The film was written and directed by Jim Jarmusch in 2016. He is an independent American director, screenwriter, producer, actor, editor and composer. He is a minimalist filmmaker. His focus is on characters and moods. As we see in “Dead Man”, too, the scenes are not rushed in his films and he handles the same cases of Hollywood films from a completely different point of view. While we are watching his films, we contemplate the scenes, the characters as well. We are never captivated by actions. 

We watch Paterson’s one week, days go by, from morning until night, nearly the same things happen in each of them. He gets up very early every morning and goes to work. He has a notebook that he carries with him. Before starting to drive the bus, he writes some lines of a poem. Anything can be a subject for his poetry, even a box of matches. His wife, Laura leads her own life at home. She loves designing clothes and decorating. She also wants to be a country guitarist and start a cupcake business of her own. They love each other so intensely and share their feelings, needs, dreams, sometimes they do not even need words, they feel each other in their hearts in their silent world. Paterson enjoys being by himself, alone with his thoughts, so does Laura. Each of them has his/her own world and with these worlds, they make another new world. It is a world of peace, their marriage is not a battle of clashing ideas but a relationship based on understanding and cherishing. They also have a dog, Marvin. He goes to Shades Bar every evening as he takes the dog out for a walk. There are pictures of important people from Paterson at the bar, sometimes they talk about these people. Paterson does not talk or smile much but when he does, we know that he speaks or smiles from the heart. 

Laura wants Paterson to publish his poems. He even has not got copies of his poems. He is not interested in publishing his poems, being a famous person or giving up his job which can be thought as an unsuitable job for a poet. He “seizes the time”, appreciates each moment he breathes, feeling the value of being alive. Writing poetry is a part of his life, his exhilaration, it is an end in itself. The Great Falls of the Passaic River is his favourite place. He goes there a lot, all alone, thinks and writes. Unfortunately Marvin destroys his poems one day and he goes there again. A Japanese man sits next to him and they talk about poetry. The man has been reading the book-length poem “Paterson” by William Carlos Williams. It seems like that the man knows Paterson is a poet as well. He gives him an empty notebook as a present, a new world of poetry. 

“Paterson” makes us contemplate on our desires for life. We do not need an enormously exciting life, changing from day to day, lots of people around us, glamorous nights full of enjoyment, just like the life of the main character of “The Sirens of Titan”, Constant, Kurt Vonnegut’s unforgettable novel. Some people dream of Hollywood parties as the ultimate happiness one can reach, as one of the characters in this novel, but Constant is so lonely and unhappy, especially after those crazy parties he is more and more dejected because a party lie is the last thing his soul needs. Peace and quiet, a few loving, caring people and intensely feeling what we do. Cherishing every moment, enjoying time passing as we move in it, watch it, listen to it, giving each moment the value it deserves because we are in it, we are with the time and space we live in. We will definitely come across with loss, feel pain for it, but the world in and around us is always ready to embrace us. As long as we feel it, we can always start again for better ends.