Cinema, short for cinematography, is often used to refer to the industry of films and filmmaking or to the art of filmmaking itself. The contemporary definition of cinema is the art of simulating experiences to communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty or atmosphere.
Consider this to have been a ‘definitive role’ for Forest Whitaker. In a manner similar to his preparation for Bird, he again immersed himself in his character’s world; he studied Eastern philosophy and meditated for long hours ‘to hone his inner spiritual hitman’.
Jim Jarmusch has told interviewers that he developed the title character with Whitaker in mind; the New York Times review of the film observed that ‘It’s hard to think of another actor who could play a cold-blooded killer with such warmth and humanity.’
The film has been interpreted by critics as an homage to Le Samouraï, a 1967 crime-drama by Jean-Pierre Melville starring Alain Delon. That movie opens with a quote from an invented Book of Bushido and features a meditative, loner hero, Jef Costello. In the same manner that Ghost Dog has an electronic “key” to break into luxury cars, Costello has a huge ring of keys that enable him to steal any Citroën DS. The endings share a key similarity. Moreover, the peculiar relationship between the heroes of both movies and birds, as companions and danger advisers, is another common theme.