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In a vignette called "Strange to meet you," Roberto sits at a small table in a coffee bar. Five cups of coffee and two ashtrays are in front of him; he drinks and smokes. Steven joins him. They start a conversation about cigarettes and coffee. Steven likes to drink coffee before he sleeps, so he can dream faster. The conversation jumps around. "You know my mother?" asks Roberto. Steven describes coffee Popsicles. They switch seats; then switch back. Steven has to leave for a dental appointment he's not looking forward to. Roberto makes a startling offer, inspired no doubt by the coffee and cigarettes. Written by
Benigni (of La Vita a Bella and grandstanding Oscar acceptance speech fame) and Steven Wright (of all those great quotes cult-fame) sit out a mini-marathon of coffee and cigarettes over a few minutes. It's in black and white, and has a bit of a timeless quality to it - it was filmed in the 80s, but could have been made yesterday.
Basically, the two introduce themselves to each other, stumble over a conversation involving coffee, cigarettes, dreaming and the Indy 500. Finally, the conversation comes to an upcoming dental appointment and the punchline. Steven Wright is left with a faintly bemused look on his face and that's it.
It's a good little short, but outside of it being part of last year's "Coffee and Cigarettes" film (a collation of several shorts involving Bill Murray, Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett and a few others) it's a bit of a curio. Interesting to see Benigni ten years before his breakthrough. If you like this, check out "Down By Law", which is a feature-length Jarmusch film, also in cultish b&w.
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