Mystery Train

Jim Jarmusch, USA 1989, 110’
Down by Law Night on Earth

Mystery Train has a riddle-like structure, it is a scattered puzzle until the complete image crystallizes in the viewer's mind. The film's seemingly independent episodes are set in the run-down Arkada Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, Elvis Presley's hometown. This is where the protagonists of the story stop for a moment: two Japanese tourists, traveling in the footsteps of their musical idols, an Italian woman who lost her husband in the States, and an American woman who just broke up with her English boyfriend. Their paths cross for a moment as a gunshot rings out in the background. Everyone is also haunted by the ghost of Elvis. As usual, however, a Jarmusch film is not about action. On the contrary, the director ostentatiously shows the absence of conflicts or their appearance, nothing-happening or something happening without meaning and punch lines. The main character of Mystery Train is time, because Jarmusch is fascinated by the possibility of showing simultaneous events. Like his other works, this one also impresses with a cast of actors and underground stars. The paths of the likes of Steve Buscemi, Joe Strummer (leader of The Clash), New York director Sara Driver, performer and musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and blues legend Rufus Thomas cross on-screen. 

Małgorzata Sadowska


Cannes IFF 1989 - Best Artistic Contribution

Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch was born in 1953 in Akron, Ohio, and is one of the most important figures of in the history of independent cinema. Jarmusch studied at New York University Film School and Cinémathèque Française. His mentor was Nicholas Ray (director of Rebel Without a Cause), for whom Jarmusch also worked as assistant director. Thanks to the success of his first films, especially Stranger Than Paradise (1984), which won the Golden Camera at Cannes, Jarmusch came to symbolize a new generation of independent American cinema and became a critics' darling. The combination of his specific sense of humor and oft-used static scenes is so characteristic that the term Jarmuschian is understood throughout the world today. Laureate of, among others, Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for a short film (Coffee and Cigarettes III, 1993) and winner of numerous other awards.


1980 Nieustające wakacje / Permanent Vacation

1984 Inaczej niż w raju / Stranger Than Paradise

1986 Poza prawem / Down by Law

1991 Noc na Ziemi / Night on Earth

1995 Truposz / Dead Man

1999 Ghost Dog: Droga samuraja / Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

2003 Kawa i papierosy / Coffee and Cigarettes

2005 Broken Flowers

2009 The Limits of Control

2013 Tylko kochankowie przeżyją / Only Lovers Left Alive

2016 Paterson

2016 Gimme Danger (doc.)

2019 Truposze nie umierają / The Dead Don’t Die

Cast & Crew

director Jim Jarmusch
screenplay Jim Jarmusch
cinematography Robby Müller
editing Melody London
music John Lurie
cast Masatoshi Nagase, Yûki Kudô, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Reginald Freeman, Sy Richardson, Tom Noonan, Stephen Jones, Lowell Robert, Sara Driver, Richard Boes, Darryll Daniel, Calvin Brown, Jim Stark, Elan Yaari, Joe Strummer, Rick Aviles, Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits
producer Kunijiro Hirata, Demetra J. MacBride, Rudd Simmons, Jim Stark, Hideaki Suda
production JVC, Kunijro Hirata, Hideaki Suda, MTI, Demetra MacBride, Jim Stark
Polish distributor Gutek Film
language English
coloration colour
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