I Won't Forget To Put Roses On Your Grave

I recently watched Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers. I was interested throughout, but since it was so vigorously anti-story, and none on the story's movement had real significance, I have to say that it is the most interesting boring movie I've seen (that I can remember...I have a bad memory).

What we have is a watchable film about desperate boringness. It's the ultimate post-modern film (just saying that makes me feel boring...don't you feel bored? "ultimate post-modern film," "ultimate post-modern film,"...zzzzz...zzzz...), because each time Jarmusch suggests the story might be moving along, he displays signs and wonders...but they never have significance.

The viewer is continually invited to invest things in the film with meaning. There's a first layer of clues, which the watcher dismisses immediately as insignificant. Then there's the deeper layer of signs, at least some of which must be significant, or there's no story. The signs that Jarmusch lays out along the line of the film even invite a climax, an event that would make the viewer look back and finally see the meaning of various signs. Jarmusch holds a mock climax...in which he displays just one more un-significant signifier/sign.

Bill Murray's character is the protagonist, a sort of broken Don Juan who does nothing but stare at walls and tolerate the belief-filled and significant (to himself, at least) talk of his happily married and very fertile next-door neighbor. Murray gets to use a lot of the same facial expressions he used in Lost In Translation, but at least that character found a little meaning and satisfaction in life. Not our Broken Flowers Don Juan. This dude is confounded by every sign, and ultimately crushed by the randomness and meaninglessness of the events around him.

If you buy into the movie, you either buy into an utter meaninglessness and disconnectedness, or you buy into the need to believe to not be broken. The film very self-consciously reveals a hard edge of truth about post-modernism (which is so boring, so passé...have I said that yet?): there's no satisfaction to be found in the weight of temporary relationships and constructed meanings. You can't be satisfied by what you self-consciously build to satisfy yourself/soothe the fearful beast. You have to be innocent and full of faith, and find meaning in that, like Bill Murray's neighbor, who just believed as a matter of faith that events have meaning.