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Mystery Train (1989)

A seedy Memphis hotel where each room is a shrine to Elvis Presley (whose spirit pervades the entire movie) is the focus for three stories involving two Japanese tourists visiting Graceland, an Italian woman whose flight to Rome is delayed, and an Elvis lookalike down on his luck.

As the assorted characters converge on the hotel, the two members of staff (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Cinqué Lee, pictured below) appear unperturbed by their unusual clientele.

The first American film to be wholly financed by Japanese cash, this is indie cinema close to its best.

Demonstrating his customary, quirky genius for character, director Jim Jarmusch effortlessly weaves together the three stories set in a moth-eaten Memphis hotel.

The scenes involving Japanese rock pilgrims Jun (Masatoshi Nagase) and Mitzuko (Youki Kudoh) are a delight, while the postmortem by Johnny (Joe Strummer) and Charlie (Steve Buscemi) of their bungled robbery is tantamount to a Tarantino prototype.

Masatoshi Nagase
Youki Kudoh
Night clerk
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Cinqué Lee
Nicoletta Braschi
Dee Dee
Elizabeth Bracco
Stephen Jones
Joe Strummer
Will Robinson
Rick Aviles
Steve Buscemi
Voice of radio DJ
Tom Waits

Jim Jarmusch