Saturday, 6 November 2010

Review: Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

For Le Café I try to get ideas from all kinds of mediums, i.e. from books, music, art and of course movies!
I thought it would be nice to share the films that influence my work on here with you. Its important for film making to know your genre and for what audience it is for. Therefore you probably have a key inspiration. This can be everything really, but it is often another movie already out there.
My key was the movie Coffee and Cigarettes, although it all kicked off with Paris, Je T'aime at first (review is following up later).
From now on i'll try to review everyday at least one film that has for me a connection to Le Café

Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) by Jim Jarmusch
What this movie is about:
Coffee and Cigarettes is a comic series of short vignettes that build on one another to create a cumulative effect as the characters discuss things as diverse as caffeine popsicles, Paris in the twenties, and the use of nicotine as an insecticide, all the while sitting around sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes.
As Jarmusch delves into the normal pace of our world from an extraordinary angle, he shows just how absorbing the obsessions, joys, and addictions of life can be. Filmed in black and white. (synopsis by MGM studios)

I didn't expect much when I heard of this film. The idea to watch Coffee and Cigarettes came up after I watched Jarmusch's Mystery Train (89). After seeing three different stories connected to Elvis Presley and to a hotel in Memphis I thought I could dig a little bit deeper into Jim's world.
There it was! One film, 11 short stories...amazing!
You can say what you want, but this film is a classic! It is a different, strange, natural, funny and a bit crazy film. I'm a big fan of short stories, so that film made a dream come true for me.

The beginning credits in black& white with Berry's "Louie Louie" as backing track sold it to me already. It would take quite a long time to review every single vignette here, but I can say that all the actors are brilliant (Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Alfred Molina, Steve Coogan, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, a.m.m.). Great is to see that many of them played themselves. The black & white flair, which gives us a film noir kind of style, fits perfectly with the café atmospere. In a different way you could interpret that the b&w relates to the theme of interpersonal contrasts, as each story features two people who disagree completely yet manage to sit genially at the same table. All the stories deal with the caffein- nicotin theme, but also with themes like obsession, addiction of life, joy and Nikola Tesla.
"Nikola Tesla perceived the earth to be a conductor of acoustical resonance." (mentioned in Jack Shows Meg His Tesla Coil and Champagne).
Its great what you can find within the different segments of the film. This film gave me such an inspiration boost in writing, finding connections, themes, a style and a genre (comedy, music, drama)!
If you got the time, watch this wonderful piece of art. You will find yourself in at least one story, which makes it a good experience to watch.

By the way, originally there were three short films only, which were Strange To Meet You (86), Twins (89) and Somewhere In California (93).

Official Coffee and Cigarettes

written by Ben Graziano

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