Coffee & Cigarettes

I know, I know- smoking is terrible for you and can cause major damage to your health, but it's oh so awesome and cool, especially when seen on screen. Some would say that celluloid and smoke were a match made in heaven, especially for photographers who love to have it in the background as they shoot a scene.

David Stairharn in George Clooney's Good Night And Good Luck

No kidding then, that whenever a said cinematographer or director has a chance to shoot in black and white, they make sure smoke is in the air & is clearly seen. B &W goes along great with smoke, thus it is a rare sight to have a film noir from the 40's with no smoke whatsoever. Have you ever seen one without it? Name it and I shall pull my claim. Especially THE film noir of all film noirs Double Indemnity, which climax's with a wounded character getting one last smoke from a partner he betrayed.

One last smoke in Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity

Even more extreme is Jim Jarmusch's rather ill fated Coffee & Cigarettes- which was an experimental pleasure when it appeared 5 years ago in theatres. The premise was simple- short stories, told in Black and White, which involve characters smoking and drinking coffee on screen, while having oddly uninvolved conversations about philosophy and life in general. Did it work? I don't think it did, in fact it was a real bore but it was rather beautifully shot and had scene after scene of glowing smoke mixed with the rust of drinking of a cup of coffee.

Renee French in Jim Jarmusch's Coffee And Cigarettes

What's the point of this post? Well, it's definitely not gonna win a Nobel Prize, nor will it live on as one of my better exercises in Film but look at at those pretty pictures with all the smoke in glorious Black and White- doesn't it make you want to grab one and just read a book with a nice cup of coffee? If the answer is yes, I rest my case. If the answer s no, you are very strong willed. Now on with the show.

Billy Bob Thornton in the Joel Coen's The Man Who Wasn't There