The Japanese stranger stands up to leave. For a moment, he thinks to himself and eventually reaches into his slinging bag to take out a notebook. He hands it to Paterson calling it a gift. He says, “Sometimes empty pages present more than possibilities” and walks away. God knows where he went. Even though Paterson was feeling distraught ever since his dog chewed up his ‘secret’ notebook where he wrote all of his poems, he felt somewhat dazed after the Japanese stranger left. I guess life teaches us things we were supposed to, not because we want to. Destiny has it’s own supernatural path barely known to nimble human minds. I was feeling a little out of place ever since I got home, my favorite team lost and I couldn’t write at all. I posted a status on facebook saying I was dealing with a sizable writer’s block (which I am) and was bored to the point where I could go insane. But then I watched the beautiful movie ‘Paterson’, I picked up where I had left last night. I like think the words that came out of the Japanese stranger’s mouth meant something. I mean, artists cannot always keep creating. They need space, time and bits of inspiration every now and then. Paterson dealt with his shredded notebook in a very mature way which was impossible in my case. I would’ve cried my heart out. He was shaken yet couldn’t show. After he was gifted the notebook and those words, he was inspired enough to write something that naturally pleased him. Such is the highlight of my day. That Japanese stranger broke Paterson’s incubation period and so did mine. Hell, I am writing now. What could be more delightful than writing something that feels good? I can never put something before my writing. It’s what I live for and what I want to do. It might be the only thing I’m good at. Maybe Paterson felt the same as I did when I was dealing with this block.
On a more spiritual level, Paterson is real. He’s a living, breathing, walking and kissing human being. He is not a rock star or a multi billionaire. He’s a plain, blue collar citizen who has an ambitious girlfriend and a hungry dog. Nobody shall put this movie on the fiction shelf. Movies like these don’t come out very often. There is nothing extravagant or eventful about Paterson. He just wants to wake up to listen to a dream his girlfriend saw, eat cereal, write some ordinary piece of poetry based on what he sees everyday and drive the bus. The words he jots on paper are not mesmerizing or memorable; it’s observation disguised in detail and simple musings. He’d eat lunch on a bench looking at a scenic waterfall. Some things about Paterson feel so enchanting even though it’s so simple. I mean, for most people the movie is boring or not entertaining enough. There is a reason they are not artistic enough. They have no idea how to praise good, natural cinema.
“A good cinematographer must know how to present normal, routine elements of life in the most beautiful way possible.” Well, that’s quotable. Paterson is haunting. It’s so simple. A shoutout to the makers of this brilliant film, for they have created a world unto itself. And half the credit goes to Adam Driver to have acted so naturally complemented by a equally strong cast.
It is one of those rare movies that cast a magic spell on the patient and humble lovers of cinema. It has appealed to me in a way I didn’t think it could.