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Night On Earth Essay, Research Paper

The film “Night on Earth” portrays taxi drivers in different cities around the world. Our focus will be the story of the taxi driver in Rome, Italy. In this section the film centers on a taxi driver and a priest, two unlikely people in an unlikely situation at 4:00 in the morning. The director of this film, Jarmusch, had three main intentions to show in this film. The first of these intentions is to show stereotypes of Italians, the second being to poke fun at the Church, and the third intention of showing an unlikely, comical situation. To show these intentions Jarmusch uses props, shock value, and comedy in order to relate his ideas to the viewers. Although I only viewed the portion of the film focusing on Rome, I think that it was very good and would like to view the entire film someday.

I have never been to Rome, let alone Italy; so I have no ideas about their customs or ways of life. Coming from what I have seen on TV and heard about from other people, I have come to a stereotypical conclusion of all Italians that I assume to be in agreement with other peoples’ stereotypes and ideas. The first of these stereotypes is that Italians are sexually active people. This is supported in the film’s first scene, which shows two people making love on the back of a motorcycle at 4:00 in the morning. Another stereotype of Italians is that they are smokers. This is not only from Italian culture but also true in all of European countries. In the film the taxi driver lights a cigarette when the priest is in the car, and looks back to see the priests’ reaction to this disgusting action. The priest points to the no smoking sign in the car and is horrified when the taxi driver throws the sign out of the window. The cigarette is used as a prop to portray the directors’ ideas and the interaction that takes place is rich in shock value. Another of the directors’ intentions was to poke fun at the Church. Jarmusch did this by using comedy and again shock value. When the taxi driver sees the priest and realizes he will be picking him up he says, “lick my balls,” and then drives around the statue a few times. This shows that the driver did not want to pick up the priest, he considered him bad luck. Later in the car, the driver confesses to the priest that he has had sex with a pumpkin, a sheep, and his sister in law. This is a good use of shock value because it is definitely not expected. A third intention Jermusch had for this film was to an unlikely comical situation. He did this by putting a priest in the car with a dirty taxi driver and again uses comedy, shock value, and props to relate his points. The taxi driver first stops to talk with some transvestite prostitutes, and then confesses all of these weird abnormal sins to the priest, trying to shock him. I love how Jarmusch uses irony by putting a priest in a situation where he is surrounded by “his people,” the common people, who he is supposed to dedicate his life to serving, and who wind up killing him in the end. Jermusch did a good job relating his ideas through to the viewers using these strategies.

Jermuschs’ film “Night on Earth” used many strategies to convey his intentions throughout the film. Usually we would not laugh if a priest died, but in this situation Jarmusch has made it very comical. I really enjoyed the taxi driver’s rudeness because the way he went about it was very eye opening and made the movie much more interesting. Also, the stereotypes shown in this film were very good because it gives us a true sense of how Italy is, for the most part. I thought that this was a very good film and would like to watch the entire film some day, to see the other situations and how each city is portrayed. I think that the director did a very good job in making this film and I am interested in any other works he has.


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