Coffee And Cigarettes (2003) R 95min
October 4th, 2008 by Maxim · No Comments · 7,347 Views
Jim Jarmusch (Year of the Horse, Dead Man, Mystery Train) has shot this collage of short films over a long period of time. The first episode, “Coffee and Cigarettes I”, came out in 1986.
In this full feature-length film he combined all the episodes he shot in Black and White over the years, surprising us with the cast of actors and strange dialogs. Starring Roberto Benigni (played Guido Orefice and wrote Life Is Beautiful, also played Johnny Toothpick in 1991 Johnny Stecchino), Steven Wright, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Cate Blanchett, Alpfred Molina, Steve Coogan and Bill Burray.
It’s an art movie that picks an object, a table with chess-board-colored top with cups of coffee and cigarettes, and tells several stories about it. Each episode has a shot from directly above the table. The camera throughout the rest of the episode is fixed at the table – it’s like you are a bartender looking at the people around the table and overhearing the conversation. These three objects, the table, coffee and cigarettes, bring together most diverse people with interesting personal stories.
First episode titled “Strange to meet you” is where Roberto (Roberto Benigni) meets Steven (Steven Wright) at a coffee table and is so eager to do him a favor he even goes to the dentist for him. This vignette is about 5 minutes long, but it was fun to watch. There’s an episode called “Twins” where Steve Buscemi plays a water who force his theory about Elvis and his twin brother to his clients, twins, who have no desire to hear this theory. There’s a great episode titled “Cousins” starring Cate Blanchett as both characters. There’s a pretty funny episode about two Guidos-brothers, were elder brother lectures the other one that cigarettes will kill him.
“Renee” was a great episode about a hot young lady at the coffee table and a waiter who likes her and he’s trying to get her attention and start a conversation, but she pushes him away, and I think she’s contemplating buying a pistol for some kind of revenge. This episode was almost in Tarantino style.
The rest of episodes were not particularly funny, but a few chuckles here and there. They reminded me of a track on an old Pink Floyd album, The Atom Heart Mother, called “Alan’s psychedelic breakfast”. Dialogs seem to be improvised.
The summary: it’s a great art movie starring famous and interesting actors. It’s a comedy and satire. Coffee and Cigarettes is like a coffee break when you are pushing hard. A few chuckles here and there, but if you are not on coffee and cigarettes when you are watching it, it will seem boring.
The cast: Roberto – Roberto Benigni | Steven – Steven Wright | Good Twin – Joie Lee | Evil Twin – Cinqué Lee | Waiter – Steve Buscemi | Iggy – Iggy Pop | Tom – Tom Waits | Vinny – Vinny Vella | Vinny Jr. – Vinny Vella Jr. | Renee – Renee French | Cate/Shelly – Cate Blanchett | Alfred – Alfred Molina | Steve – Steve Coogan | Bill Murray – Bill Murray
The crew: Director – Jim Jarmusch | Screenplay – Jim Jarmusch | Producers – Rachel Dengiz, Jason Kliot, Demetra J. MacBride, Demetra J. MacBride, Gretchen McGowan, Rudd Simmons, Stacey E. Smith, Jim Stark, Birgit Staudt, Joana Vicente | Cinematography – Tom DiCillo, Frederick Elmes, Ellen Kuras, Robby Müller | United Artists
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actor | Art | Cate Blanchett | Cigarette | Cigarette Smoking | coffee | Cult Director | Cult Favorite | Iggy Pop | Jim Jarmusch | Roberto Benigni | Smoking | Steve Buscemi | title spoken by character | Tom Waits | twins | Waiter