Coffee and Cigarettes (15)

Film

Drama

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Time Out says

Over the last 20 years Jim Jarmusch has been filming, at irregular intervals, short, comic conversation-pieces, set in cafés, shot in black and white, and often starring actors from his features. About 18 months ago he suddenly shot six more vignettes, bringing the total to 11 and fulfilling his long-term plans for a feature-length compilation. Little happens in any one episode – people meet, exchange stories, opinions and glances, smoke, drink coffee (or tea, in the case of English expats) and leave – but much fun, both verbal and behavioural, is to be had along the way, And by the end, as if by magic, a wisp of a resonant, even relevant overall theme has materialised.

Highlights include Iggy Pop and Tom Waits taking gratuitous offence to an inappropriately relaxing backdrop of Hawaiian guitar; Cate Blanchett and her rock-chick cousin pretending fame and fortune haven’t forged a chasm between them; Alfred Molina giving an obnoxiously hypocritical, self-serving Steve Coogan a taste of his own medicine; and, gloriously, Taylor Mead and Bill Rice paying wry final tribute to beauty, creativity and the power of imagination. Motifs emerge along the way – musos specialising in scientific or medical sidelines, the pitfalls of celebrity, the lies we tell ourselves to excuse addiction, the lies we tell others to protect our self-image – to form, eventually, an uneven but mostly rich account of the more absurd aspects of human interaction; it’s funny how ambition and anxiety get in the way of what we really mean. In short, this is another deliciously droll, deadpan comic delight from Jarmusch: small, but strangely beautiful.

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