Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

  • 116'
  • USA
  • 1999
Jim Jarmusch must have worked on his latest film with a great deal of pleasure. It's tangible in the light and humorous tone with which this entertaining story is told and it's visible in the many fun and crazy details that fill the film. It is also a homage to several favourite Japanese film-makers (including especially Suzuki Seijun) - the reason why the film is included in this programme section, but to be honest, Jarmusch' homage does not stop at Japanese cinema. The film is situated in New York and also looks at the American gangster genre in a playful and almost nonchalant way. Protagonist is the mysterious lonely hitman Ghost Dog (a beautiful role by Forest Whitaker), a large, heavy, black man who moves with an almost magical lightness. His motion plays tricks with the laws of logic and gravity. Ghost Dog allows himself to be led by the principles of the legendary Japanese samurai. Their bible, the Hagakure, is his too. (Jarmusch lards his film with aphorisms from this book on caption cards borrowed from the silent-film era.) Ghost Dog's life was once saved by a small Mafia boss, at least that's what he thinks, and since then he has served his daimio like a true samurai. Entirely in keeping with samurai thought, Ghost Dog chooses a young pupil to carry on his good work just before his imminent and heroic end. GjZ
Jim Jarmusch
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2000
Plywood Productions, Richard Guay
Studio Canal
Jim Jarmusch
Local Distributor
A-Film Distribution