light gazing, ışığa bakmak

Monday, February 20, 2006

Coffee and Cigarettes by Jim Jarmusch

Coffee and Cigarettes

"Coffee and Cigarettes is a black and white film from established US indie director Jim Jarmusch. Well, its really 11 short black and white films with one obvious link - Coffee and cigarettes. Made over a 17-year period as kind of a hobby in between other projects, each piece involves conversations between two or three people whilst they drink and smoke. Sounds quite simple yet in some ways it is very ambitious. "

This is the beginning of the film's review by Paul Thompson at, a cool website. I had never seen anything by Jim Jarmusch until my brother decided to give me this Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), that I loved. The movie is totally unexpected and totally different from anything we're used to when we say the word movie or film. It is a series of sketches with nothing is common, apparently, but the fact that the characters are drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes at a table. It seems that this movie took 17 years to complete, being an ongoing project for Jarmusch that probably never even wanted to put it all together in a movie, who knows. But in the end it all comes together with some cross references and some characters using the same words as others in different situations.

The whole film is in black and white and funny enough, B/W makes it more realistic and closer to real life. Any of us could be there, in one of those situations, if we disregard the fact that all the situations are really strange and the characters exotic, to say the least.

The list of characters is played by a list of great names that do not disappoint. I liked the Tom Waits and Iggy Pop scene the best. My favorite acting scene was Cate Blanchett's where she plays herself and a looser cousin that she politely meets in a hotel lobby between marketing engagements. Cate manages to be 2 people with no effort at all, I had to check the DVD backcover to make sure it was her. My favorite story or non-story is probably Renée French's segment, "Renée".


One of those films to watch on a melancolic evening, when it's warm inside and pouring raining  outside.

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