Jim Jarmusch: Rock ‘n’ Roll ACMI Presents

Down by Law

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Described by Jarmusch as a “neo-beat-noir-comedy” Down By Law pits thoroughly cool musicians Tom Waits and John Lurie against the cross-cultural clowning of Roberto Benigni in this jailhouse comedy set in the Louisiana bayou.

Trapped in an overcrowded cell, a disc jockey (Tom Waits), a pimp (John Lurie) and an Italian tourist (Roberto Benigni) bicker, sing and hatch an escape plan. Once free, the unlikely trio journey aimlessly through a maze of deep-south swampland until Benigni stumbles upon his version of the American dream and bids his companions farewell.

On its release, New York Times film critic Vincent Canby wrote “The excitement comes from the realization that we are seeing a true film maker at work, using film to create a narrative that couldn't exist on the stage or the printed page of a novel”.