Night on Earth (film)

Night on Earth (film)

Infobox Film
name = Night on Earth

caption = Film poster for "Night on Earth"
director = Jim Jarmusch
eproducer = Jim Stark
producer = Jim Jarmusch
writer = Jim Jarmusch
starring = Winona Ryder
Béatrice Dalle
Roberto Benigni
music = Tom Waits
cinematography = Frederick Elmes
editing = Jay Rabinowitz
distributor = Fine Line Features
released = 1991
runtime = 129 min.
country = USA
awards = Independent Spirit Award for best Cinematography
language = English
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
amg_id = 1:35323
imdb_id = 0102536

"Night on Earth" is a 1991 film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch.

It is a collection of five vignettes—the term "slice of life story" would also be appropriate—concerning the temporary bond formed between taxi driver and passenger in five different cities: Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, and Helsinki. The movie begins with the Los Angeles-based snapshot and moves from city to city as the clock turns during the late hours of the night. Jarmusch wrote the screenplay for "Night on Earth" in about eight days, and the decision to film in certain cities was based on the actors with whom he wanted to work at the time. [cite news |first= Geoff|last= Andrew|authorlink= |title= Jim Jarmusch interviewed by Geoff Andrew (II)|url=,4479,110606,00.html|work= The Guardian|publisher= Guardian Media Group|date= 1999-11-15|accessdate=2008-05-02 ] The soundtrack, "Night on Earth", is by Tom Waits.


Los Angeles

Sassy tomboy cabby Corky (Winona Ryder) picks up Hollywood executive Victoria Snelling (Gena Rowlands) from the airport, and as Corky drives, Victoria conducts business over the phone. Despite their extreme differences socially, the two develop a certain connection. Sometime during the ride Victoria, who is evidently a talent scout or casting director, discovers that Corky would be perfect for a part in a movie she is casting.

New York

Helmut Grokenberger (Armin Mueller-Stahl), an East German immigrant who was once a clown in his home country, now works in New York as a taxi driver. He picks up a passenger named YoYo (Giancarlo Esposito), a brash, streetwise young man and drives him to Brooklyn. Helmut doesn't know how to drive with an automatic transmission, so he allows YoYo to drive for a while. On their way, they pick up YoYo's sister-in-law Angela (Rosie Perez). The story reveals Helmut's attempts to understand and become a part of the culture of New York.


A blind woman (Béatrice Dalle) goes for a ride at night with a driver (Isaach De Bankolé) who hails from the Ivory Coast. They both take some verbal jabs at each other during the ride. The driver asks his passenger what it's like to be blind and she attempts to explain to him, but their cultural differences and differences of life experience make things difficult. An ironic twist at the end of the segment turns upon a French pun near the beginning of it: When the driver states his nationality as "Ivoirien"," some other Africans mock him with the punning phrase "Y voit rien" (he sees nothing there). After he drops off his blind passenger, he feels fascinated by her and gazes in her direction. This inattention to driving causes him to crash into another car, whose driver angrily accuses him of being blind.


In the wee morning hours, a very eccentric cabbie (Roberto Benigni) picks up a priest (Paolo Bonacelli). As he drives, he starts to confess his sins. He goes into great detail about how he discovered his sexuality first with a pumpkin (zucca) and with a sheep, then goes on telling about a love affair he had with his brother's wife. The already-ailing priest is shocked by the lurid confession, and leaves the cabbie with a very troubling situation.


After an evening spent drinking, three workers, one of whom has been laid off (Kari Väänänen, Sakari Kuosmanen, and Tomi Salmela), climb into a cab. On the way to drop them off the workers talk about what an awful fix their now-unconscious friend is in by being out of work and having to still support a family. The driver Mika (Matti Pellonpää) then tells them the saddest story they have ever heard. The workers are terribly moved and depressed by the story, and even become unsympathetic toward their drunken, laid-off companion.


Los Angeles

Winona Ryder as Corky (taxi driver)

Gena Rowlands as Victoria Snelling (passenger)

New York

Giancarlo Esposito as YoYo (passenger & taxi driver)

Armin Mueller-Stahl as Helmut Grokenberger (taxi driver & passenger)

Rosie Perez as Angela (passenger)


Isaach De Bankolé as Unnamed Taxi Driver

Béatrice Dalle as the Blind Woman (passenger)


Roberto Benigni as Gino (taxi driver)

Paolo Bonacelli as Priest (passenger)


Matti Pellonpää as Mika (taxi driver)
Kari Väänänen, Sakari Kuosmanen, and Tomi Salmela as Passengers


Until September 2007, Night on Earth was one of only two Jarmusch features not yet released on DVD in the United States (it had been previously released in the UK). It was released by the Criterion Collection on 2007-09-04.


External links

*imdb title|id=0102536|title=Night on Earth
*rotten-tomatoes|id=night_on_earth|title=Night on Earth
*mojo title|id=nightonearth|title=Night on Earth
* [ Film Review by B. Wahlbrinck]

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