When Edith Piaf came on stage, there were no fancy decorations, half-naked back vocalists or exploding fireworks. Amazingly, one woman in a black dress with a beautiful voice could filled up the whole stage and capture d the audience with her performance. You don’t need much decoration when the essence is there. You don’t need big budgets to make a good movie either. And Coffee and Cigarettes is a solid proof of that.
Simplicity of the film making. Black and white scenes with minimalistic decor help bring to front the most important, and often forgotten nowadays, – the art of conversation. 11 dialogues between relatives, long-time friends and sometimes complete strangers are all very different, yet you can find something amusing and even relate to most of them.
One of my favorite scenes is with Cate Blanchett who meets with her cousin. Having the same roots, two ladies ended up in very different worlds. Sophisticated vs shaggy, fame vs lack of appreciation, money vs no money, and lots of pretension on both sides. Two cousins have finally met after all this time, but the chasm between them is growing larger and larger with every minute. Shelly, the shaggy one, brings up an interesting point: “It’s just… funny, don’t yah think, that when you can’t afford something, it’s like *really expensive* but then when you can afford it, it’s like, free? It’s kinda backwards, don’t yah think?” “Yeah, well… the world is a bit like that, I guess, in a lot of ways,” says Cate.
As a person who has never smoked in her life, I observed the many smokers around and was always wondered why there is something fascinating about cigarettes and the smoking process altogether. You light up a cigarette, lay back and then your thoughts start to wonder. That glowing light in the dark, smoke slowly takes shapes, you start to relax. No matter whether you go deep into your thoughts or just stay here and now, focused on a present moment, cigarettes literally create a smoke screen from an outside world. Maybe, that’s why people who smoke never seem to be alone. Time for a cigarette? As Iggi said: “The beauty of quitting is, now that I’ve quit, I can have one, ’cause I’ve quit.”
Coffee has a similar effect. You order some coffee, the conversation unfolds just like the taste of coffee. It can be classy and it can be lousy, hot and steamy or rather plain, dark and rich or soften with milk. At some point it comes to an end, but the aftertaste stays with you. “Cigarettes and coffee, man, that’s a combination.”
Thoughts about simplicity in art and importance of having a decent conversations led to me to thinking about what I deal with everyday – tech, Internet, websites. Here is an essay of a great Canadian blogger Justin Jackson about the words and the world wide web.