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Permanent Vacation (1980)


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Release Date: Jan 1, 1980 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 2,554

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Movie Info

Jim Jarmusch made his directorial debut with this episodic profile of one troubled hipster trying to make sense of his life. Aloysius Parker (Christopher Parker), known to his friends as "Allie," is a young man with a damaged family background (his mother is in a mental institution and his father has gone missing) and an inability to sleep, causing him to dream while he's awake. After a troubling encounter with his girlfriend (Leila Gastil) and a frustrating visit with his mother, Allie drifts


Drama, Comedy

Sep 4, 2007

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (6) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (0) | DVD (2)

this student's film is surprisingly adult about its adolescent preoccupations - and well-nigh unmissable for the Jarmusch fan.

May 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

An odyssey of urban despair.

April 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Permanent Vacation

Not to be mistaken with W. Scott Peake's 2007 film (which flixster seem to have done judging by the description, doh!). Jim Jarmusch's first feature film is both very amateur and very mature, although looking through Jarmusch's other films, maybe it's not as amateur as looks and maybe intentionally so. This film only has three elements to it as far as I could see. New York, Chris Parker and the script. All three are brilliant. New York looks dirty and lonely but big and magnificent, Chris Parker is completely believable as the young man looking for the answers and the script (was it scripted?), is pure Jarmusch. Bleak, thought-provoking and too cool for school. The film's title is taken from a lyric in the song "My Boyfriend's Back", by The Angels; "If I were you, I'd take a permanent vacation" which reminds me, the music was amazing too!
October 24, 2011

Super Reviewer

Good God was this a hard film to sit through. Conceptually, it's a good idea (a kooky dude aimlessly wandering around the dingier parts of lower Manhattan interacting with people as nutty as himself) in small doses or fragments, but to have the whole film be nothing but that...damn. Stranger Than Paradise had no real plot, but at least had some semblance of a structure. This is totally plotless and free form. I probably would have liked this more had I viewewed it in an altered state of mind. To put things in perspective though, it was made 100% on the cheap, is the essence of independent cinema, and was Jarmusch's first film, so some of this is forgiveable. It pretty much an intriguing student film that shows signs of creativity, even if things aren't completely there yet. This work heavily forshadows the future of Jarmusch's career, but I won't recommend this as a starting place for people wanting to get into his work. This is definitely for hardcore fans only.
June 27, 2010
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

One thing's for sure: Writer-director Jim Jarmusch relished long silences and deathly slow pacing from the start. "Permanent Vacation," his no-budget debut, lasts a mere 75 minutes but feels more like 175. There is no tangible plot -- only a ducktailed drifter named Allie (Chris Parker) who wanders around seedy New York, having light encounters with various subculture characters. Recurrent Jarmusch collaborators Sara Driver and John Lurie are among the cast, and Lurie also wrote the score. "Stranger than Paradise" fans (hopefully, this includes everyone?) will notice the two films have similar endings.

"Permanent Vacation" is much more of an endurance test, however. Parker dominates the screen time yet, unfortunately, he may be the film's least interesting actor. His prime handicap is a thin, whiny voice that would quickly turn unbearable if not for him having so few lines. Really, the film's most notable aspect may be its sound. The score is dominated by odd, droning lines that sound like church bells ringing underwater, and low-flying planes and ambient noise often obscure the dialogue. The mix's chance imperfections are almost avant-garde.
November 12, 2011
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Jim Jarmusch's first film seem more experimental than major compared to his other films. Permanent Vacation shows of Jarmusch's cinematic expression with poetic nature and calm atomosphere. The story Follows a young man his views in life and the world he personally live in, full of likable scenarios and and self discovery. The pacing may be a bit slow, but it a small film with a lot of potential and really shows off what Jarmusch did before his more superior features. Recomended for those familiar with Jarmusch's films.
November 24, 2012
Luke Eberhard

Super Reviewer

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