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Detroit natives, he concedes, "consider it like pornography, people who come shoot these photographs of the ruins. We were guilty of that." The real Detroit, he volunteers, is far more complex: "There are a lot more things to Detroit that this film doesn't deal with, one of them being apartheid, which I find all over the United States. The poor people are just left to whatever. Police don't even go in those neighborhoods a lot in Detroit. There are whole neighborhoods where there's no electricity."

Tangier, explains Jarmusch, offered a different kind of homecoming. "It's physically decaying and crumbling on one level, and yet it's full of life, unlike Detroit, which is crumbling but seems partly devoid of life. It's not a Christian culture, which for me is a great relief, [and] it's not an alcohol culture, which is also kind of a relief. My imagination just opens there."

Only Lovers Left Alive will be released on April 11, after a nine-day overview of Jarmusch's works at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (April 2–10). He'll make personal appearances, but he says, "Frankly, I don't like looking back. I don't like retrospectives. I feel like, 'Can't you wait until I'm really old or dead?' I don't look at my films again once I've released them to the world. So yeah, I have mixed feelings. [But] I'm proud of my films. I'm especially proud of Dead Man. I really have a fondness in my memory for Down by Law. And I'm very proud of Only Lovers Left Alive."

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