An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same eventful night.
Release Year: 1991
Rating: 7.7/10 (19,894 voted)
Stars: Winona Ryder, Gena Rowlands, Lisanne Falk
A collection of five stories involving cab drivers in five different cities. Los Angeles – A talent agent for the movies discovers her cab driver would be perfect to cast, but the cabbie is reluctant to give up her solid cab driver's career. New York – An immigrant cab driver is continually lost in a city and culture he doesn't understand. Paris – A blind girl takes a ride with a cab driver from the Ivory Coast and they talk about life and blindness. Rome – A gregarious cabbie picks up an ailing man and virtually talks him to death. Helsinki – an industrial worker gets laid off and he and his compatriots discuss the bleakness and unfairness of love and life and death.
Alan Randolph Scott
Rock Musician #1
Rock Musician #2
Cab Driver #1
Isaach De Bankolé
Driver – Paris
(as Pascal Nzonzi)
Emile Abossolo M'bo
(as Émile Abossolo-M'bo)
Man in Accident
(as Stephane Boucher)
Man on Motorcycle
Five Taxis. Five Cities. One Night.
Release Date: 12 December 1991
Filming Locations: Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, New York, USA
Did You Know?
The song the Rome taxi driver tries to sing is the traditional song, "The Streets of Laredo", also known as "The Cowboy's Lament".
Crew or equipment visible:
In the Rome segment you can see several times a black car following the cab, probably the production crew.
Don't blind people usually wear dark glasses?
Do they? I've never seen a blind person.
One of the great "world-movies"
In the early 90's Jarmusch delivered this charmer, a movie that unites
America and Europe through one single topic, yet shows very different
versions of it.
At probably the exact same moment people around the globe get into taxis. A
stylish Hollywood casting agent mounts a cab in L.A., in New York it's a
hapless poor man trying to get home, in Paris we encounter a blind woman, in
Rome a priest and in Helsinki a bunch of drunks will tell their story. Yes,
indeed. Stories are told, because each episode is an encounter with the
respective cabbie, who all have a life and a past of their
Wynona Ryder's performance of the 20-year-old, chain-smoking taxi driver
does not work very well and also makes for the least interesting story. But
Armin Müller-Stahl as an East-German refugee and former clown, who is
awe-struck and belittled by the bustling NYC around him makes up for a lot.
His helplessness when trying to communicate with his passenger, played by
Giancarlo Esposito, almost becomes tangible when it manifests in his
complete inability to steer the taxi. Within very few minutes the two men
develop an utterly deep and good-humored trust and friendship between them.
I'd call it the funniest portion of the movie, but in Rome we encounter
Roberto Benigni as an always talking, sex-obsessed cabbie. His is the story
we get the least emotional or intellectual outcome from, but, hey, welcome
to the Benigni Show! If you are open-minded enough to laugh about a few
surprises in the field of sexual experimentation (which we don't see but
only hear described without too much detail), this one will stay with you as
one of the brightest twenty minutes in your life. Before Rome we visit Paris
with the most mysterious, yet most catching segment, a curious story about
the afore-mentioned blind woman and a black cab driver, who – we can't be
sure – might be going blind himself (he's very short-sighted and therefore
has problems with driving his taxi) and has a lot of questions to ask. The
woman, however, is not interested in conversation, yet we get the impression
she opens up more than the driver realizes. In Helsinki a group of drunks
tell the story of their sleeping friend's worst day. The cab-driver listens
to it. It's a terrible story about a horrible predicament and the poor
fellow's life basically lies in ruins. And yet the cabbie tops the story
with one of the saddest things you'll ever have heard.
The concept of the movie thinks of night as a place rather than a time,
because all of the stories begin at the same moment in time but in different
time zones. We move east in the process of the film and so we experience
sunset in Los Angeles and early morning in Helsinki. Each of these times
lends a special atmosphere to the story it tells, which becomes the most
effective in the Helsinki story, which is utterly sad, however ends with a
new day starting. People leave their places and go about their lives – the
world moves on, none of the stories has an ending, life for each of the
characters (except one) will continue.
What's so great about this movie is that it tells such different stories
with such different characters who all have different pasts and intentions,
each accommodating the place of action (even visually – in L.A. even the
buildings appear to be candy-flavored, while in Helsinki the city is cold,
drab, yet hopeful) and it all comes together to this huge picture, which
reminds us that we are all different but all live on the same planet and
know similar things about life, death and everything in-between. I wonder
what this movie would have been like, if Jarmusch had also considered taxis
in non-western countries.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone who… Oh, blast! I recommend this
movie to everyone.