Technically, Coffee and Cigarettes is most impressive at the beginning. The short’s simple–Steven Wright meets Roberto Benigni for coffee. When Benigni makes room for Wright, Jarmusch’s handling of the process is amazing. It’s a quick series of shots; beautifully composed and edited together.
As for the rest of the short, it’s a fine diversion but… I guess cooler is the right word. It’s cooler than it is good. Wright’s dialogue could be a stand-up monologue, only Benigni gleefully interrupts him. The best moment is when Benigni says he doesn’t understand what Wright’s saying. Watching Benigni–and hearing his responses–it’s impossible not to wonder if he understands what’s going on. Finding out he doesn’t makes it even better,
Jarmusch lets the short run out instead of following through with the gently absurdist ending, which is too bad.
Still, Coffee and Cigarettes is a great use of five minutes.
Directed by Jim Jarmusch; written by Jarmusch, Roberto Benigni and Steven Wright; director of photography, Tom DiCillo; edited by Melody London; produced by Jim Stark.
Starring Roberto Benigni and Steven Wright.