Qualities that control life

"The Limits of Control"
written and directed by Jim Jarmusch

Imagination and paying attention, that's what controls life according to this film. I agree.

Getting the signs, being able to recognize them and to follow ones path seems to be the subject here. Will you be deaf and blind or will you read and hear? Many allies appear, each knowing only a part of the equation, hence the ultimate challenge of putting it all together is upon you. You the hero, you the audience, you the storyteller. Everyone got an equal chance.

Searching for clues, finding them and then empowering them with all the might we can provide, mostly through our imagination, is what we do in life, don’t we? Perhaps a lot of what we label as correct clues are just our arbitrary decisions, taken out of a thin air. Like leaving Madrid to go to Seville.

Our maps are self generating, so are our tasks. What’s best about this film is the humility of the storyteller. Surely he has designed his tale, otherwise it would be impossible to sustain a narrative yet it all feels as a genuine search. The Lone Man searches, the storyteller searches with him and so do we. There is a sense of being treated seriously, without the paternalistic “I’ve got a plot to unveil upon you” attitude.

This seems to be an honest approach to something that remains an enigma to the majority of us who are humble enough to know that they don’t know. That “something that remains an enigma” is called life. In its maze it is us who generate our own scenarios, our own surprises. elations, and the limits of self control.

What’s the story? No way it happens for real. Maybe it's a tale of a lonely janitor working in Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and fantasizing. Maybe of a hit man, or some other tough guy getting ready to “do something.” In such case the real story would begin when the film stock is literary broken at the end. The real life starts off screen. Yet without the imagination, that is the film, life would be flat, or plain impossible.

Inside the film, the impossible (the stylistic disappointment that is) happened in the fortress. Somehow the Bill Murry’s scene flattened everything into a cheap cartoon. It's not the question "how did he get there". It is rather the lack of intensity needed to make the impossible not only possible but absolutely necessary. This is the scene that really needed for Jarmusch to continue channeling David Lynch, as he brilliantly did earlier in the scene in a bar, where nothing happened and yet everything was pregnant with unrealized importance.

Still, with no disrespect to Jim Jarmusch, whom I like a lot, this is the best David Lynch film signed by somebody else.

1 comment:

  1. "Surely he has designed his tale, otherwise it would be impossible to sustain a narrative yet it all feels as a genuine search."

    Great point, I couldn't agree more. I think the best line in the movie comes when Bill Murray asks the Lone Man how did he get into his office, and the Lone Man replies: "I used my imagination" (as opposed to reason).

    Fantastic movie.