“The absence of color can be a stronger factor than the presence of color.”
Jim Jarmusch at the Lincoln Center, New York, April 2014: “Robby Müller, I learned so much from this man about filmmaking, about a lot of things, about life in general and about light and about recording things and about capturing things in the moment and about trusting instincts. Robby and I had a really wonderful way of working: No storyboard, a shot list only if really necessary for ourselves. I still don’t like making a shot list each day when I’m working. Robby’s idea is about instincts, trusting your instinct and your intuition and Robby would always say things like: ‘Of course we can plan everything in advance and when we go to that location it’s a different time of day, the light is different, the clouds are different, so why would we cling to the idea we had previously? We must always be on our feet.’ Think on your feet.
And we did a lot of interesting things while scouting for this film together which was: We find the most dramatic, incredibly beautiful landscape you could imagine and then we would turn our backs on it and film the other way. [audience laughs] That was something that Robby said: ‘Look how magnificent this is, we’ve seen it in a fucking calender! Let’s look over there, it’s a small tree and a rock, very sad and emotional, you know?’ [audience laughs] So we would film that instead. And this is just one example of the kind of way that Robby thinks. And I learned so much from him, thinking that way. Don’t look for the obvious, always keep your eyes open, keep thinking on your feet. Shooting a film is a process and you can’t control everything in the process, so be open. Another thing Robby taught me was: O.K., you’re shooting a scene outside and suddenly it starts raining. And most crews would say: ‘Well, the scene doesn’t take place in the rain, so let’s pack up and we’ll have to stop for today’. And Robby would be: ‘I wonder what it would be like, if the scene’s in the rain. Maybe it’s much better’. Or if we already shot some of it: ‘O.K. think of some dialogue where they say it’s about the rain, you know?’ Like, keep thinking, keep thinking, don’t be set in your script. It’s something that came from Nicholas Ray, who said: ‘If you just gonna shoot the script then why bother?’ And that’s something Robby also instilled in me. Robby Müller is a kind of brilliant man who’s a very rebellious teenager in part of his spirit and yet an incredibly technically gifted person.”