Friday, July 22, 2005
Last night we watched the movie Coffee and Cigarettes. I enjoyed this movie and am still thinking about what it was about. Scott tuned out and read a book after the first couple of vignettes. Although there isn't one story line that ties this all together, this movie is about going out for coffee, or meeting someone for coffee, and all the social dynamics involved in that. Along the way there are twins, cousins, friends and acquaintances, and celebrities and fans, and these relationships all infuse the coffees with layers of meaning and interaction. After it was over, I was struck that only one vignette had characters who seemed relaxed and companionable in their dynamic and those two left together. The others were all exhibiting some social status imbalance and who arrived first and had to wait was reflected in that. I think that coffee (maybe especially in movie-making circles?) is used as a lesser form of meeting than lunch, for example. The characters would agree to meet for coffee because it was a quick date, appearing friendly, but without a big commitment. There's a lot of social awkwardness in this movie. The viewer is dragged right into it, with harsh close-ups of the characters as they try to find their way through these interactions. If you demand movies be more about plot or action than ideas, then give this one a miss. But if you are happy to see a movie that explores a few ideas and provokes thought, watch this one.