Many years ago I stumbled upon a quirky, creative, and insightful movie. This movie featured several scenes involving fairly prominent actors. The short scenes totaled no more than several minutes each.
Each scene highlighted a different theme ranging from humorous, to scientific, to melancholy, and even ironic.
Each short had different actors. In one, Bill Murray and members of the Wu Tang Clans acted out a scene. Another featured Steve Coogan and Alfred Molina. Anther short in this movie had Jack and Meg White playing with a Tesla coil. Cate Blanchett plays a dual role in one vignette. Even Iggy Pop and Tom Waits have a short scene together.
Though the topics vary, each scene has similarities. Each is shot in black and white, and is centered around a pseudo-casual conversation. Whilst the conversation is underway, at least one person involved is enjoying coffee, and cigarettes. The name of this film is derived from this very activity.
Coffee and Cigarettes.
I have rewatched this film several times over the years, and have found value in all of the short scenes. Again, some are outright silly, and others are quite thought provoking.
One scene, I truly never gave much consideration to in the past. I each viewing, I actually found it rather inane. Each time I saw it it seemed pointless, the discussion just drivel between two people completely out of touch with each other.
But recently I’ve given this snippet a bit more consideration. The movie Coffee and Cigarettes came out in 2003. I purchased it not long after its release, and amazingly, I still have the DVD. But without the proper exposure to human tendencies, this particular interaction had little significance.
Over time, over conversations, and over countless interactions with many human beings, the brilliant insight of this scene has become incredibly apparent.
Think about your life, and your interactions. I encourage careful, patient, and scrutinizing thought in this matter. Think about those who lend an ear. Think about those that are “there for you.” Also, think about what they wish to talk about, and when they are there for you.
Are they interested in hearing about you, and how you are feeling about a particular situation? Or are they interested in the drama surrounding it?
Will they pick up the phone and talk to you, or sit down and have coffee with you? (Cigarettes not necessary) Or will you only get an email or text message?
Are they concerned about your well being before and after a traumatic event? Or were they absent before, ever present during, then invisible after the troubles?
Do they support you when you just want to chat about a fleeting idea in your head? Or are they only interested when your relationship falls apart so that they can say they were there to help you fix your life?
Do they walk with you daily? Weekly? Perhaps they visit you a few times a month? Or do they appear from the brush right at the moment you’ve fallen, to forcibly yank you off the ground, give you a dispassionate thunk on the back, tell you “You’ve got this!” and then run right back into the trees?
Who really knows you? Who truly cares?
And who is only really, truly, interested in the drama?
P.S. I thought viewing the scene from the movie would be valuable. Here it is for your consideration.