Jim Jarmusch's breakthrough film, a one-of-a-kind comedy about a trio of low-rent bohemians and their lackadaisical adventures through America, gets a definitive home video presentation in this DVD release from the Criterion Collection. Created with the active participation of Jarmusch (and officially approved by the director), Stranger Than Paradise has been given a widescreen transfer to disc in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1, letterboxed on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic play on 16x9 monitors. Tom DiCillo's camerawork has never looked better than it does on this disc, and while the black and white images still lean to the grainy and murky side, the widescreen transfer flatters his intelligent framings and makes the most of the film's purposefully grimy look. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and sounds good, though the limitations of the location recordings occasionally become evident. The dialogue is in English (except for the occasional Hungarian rants from Aunt Lotte), and the disc includes no multiple language options, though optional English subtitles have been included. Disc two of this set is devoted to bonus material, the most notable item being the first North American DVD release of Jarmusch's little-seen debut film, 1980's Permanent Vacation, which looks a bit more polished than Stranger Than Paradise (if for no other reason than it's in color). Also included is a German television documentary on Jarmusch (which devotes equal time to Permanent Vacation and Stranger Than Paradise), behind-the-scenes Super-8 footage taken by Tom Jarmusch (Jim's brother) from the Cleveland shooting schedule, American and Japanese trailers for Stranger Than Paradise, and a gallery of snapshots from location scouting trips. The handsome booklet includes an essay by Jarmusch on Stranger Than Paradise, appreciations of the film by J. Hoberman and Geoff Andrew, and a short piece on Permanent Vacation by Luc Sante, followed by a longer meditation from the same author on pre-gentrification New York City. Stranger Than Paradise was a watershed work in the early inning of the American independent film movement, and this DVD set beautifully captures its qualities, as well as the idiosyncratic talent that helped Jarmusch become a major American filmmaker over the decades that followed.