Thursday, January 17, 2008

Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

Coffee and Cigarettes is a film written & directed by Jim Jarmusch. Since seeing Jarmusch's film Stranger Than Paradise I've been a fan of his work. Jarmusch's cinema is of the sub-lime. The dialogue in his films are natural, and sparse. The old saying that silence is louder then words can be said of a Jim Jarmusch film. The plot of Coffee & Cigarettes is a "series of vignettes that all have coffee and cigarettes in common". There are various actors who do a rife on various subjects throughout the film. Roberto Benigni, Steven Wright, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett, and a host of others are all featured in the film.

The film is shot in black and white by four different cinematographers. There is Tom DiCillo, Frederick Elmes, Ellen Kuras, and Robby Müller. The film is divided into eleven segments, and are titled. All the segments in the film do have something in common, but mostly it has to do with the art of conversation. Some are funny, and some are just plain sub-lime. I enjoyed some of the conversations during the film, and it is an interesting film to hear and watch. Throughout the film we do hear music from an off camera source, which adds something to the scene their playing in. Jarmusch does a remarkable amount of work for a film that only deals with conversations. He makes it look easy, but I'm sure it was anything but easy.

I'm sure it's not for everyone, and it seems more geared to the art house crowd, but it's an interesting experiment in the art of cinema minimal. Either you'll like the film or hate it, but whatever you're take on the film is you'll have to give Jarmusch credit for doing something different.

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