Music videos



"I don’t generally like music videos because they provide you images to go with the songs rather than you providing your own. You lose the beauty of music by not bringing your own mental images or recollections or associations. Music videos obliterate that. That said, one of the better videos I’ve seen is not a music video at all: it’s 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' where Dylan just stands there with the cards - it’s one single shot. They lifted that out of Don’t Look Back and showed it on MTV. I saw a good video the Butthole Surfers did, directed by the actor from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Alex Winter; very weird, not your MTV fare. Julia Haywood’s Talking Heads video 'Burning Down the House' was interesting - projecting fire onto the house itself, and images onto the road and re-photographing them. Zbigniew Rybczinski has done amazing things. But mostly i like videos that don’t get too complicated." 

- Jim Jarmusch in Film Comment, June 1992. 


Jarmusch has also cast musicians in his film, and in turn directed videos for musicians who have acted for him. But he dismisses the idea that a video he has directed is a film of his in miniature. "I had a big fight years ago with Tom Waits. He said: 'Look, it's not your film. It's a promo for my song.' It was after Down By Law, and it was about the editing. But he was right. And it wasn't a fight. It wasn't anything that disturbed. It was an argument, just one night. I remember I locked him outside in the parking lot, and he's hammering at the door, and he's shouting through 'Jim! I'm gonna glue your head to the wall!' He didn't glue my head to the wall. But they're not really films of mine, they're films for a song. I learned that a long time ago.

- Laura Barton, "Tom Waits said he would glue my head to the wall", The Guardian, June 9, 2006



By his own account (in an interview with Fredrik Johansson in Swedish magazine Stick #4 2004), Jim Jarmusch has been asked to do vidoes by The Strokes and The White Stripes, but had to turn them down due to bad timing. In that 2004 interview, Jarmusch also mentions that he might be doing a video for Blonde Redhead shortly, which I don't think ever was realized.


Though evidently sceptical of the idea of music videos, Jarmusch has directed a few:


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