The plot of this movie, like smoke itself, drifts and swirls ethereally. Characters and subplots are deftly woven into a tapestry of stories and pictures which only slowly emerges to our view. This film tries to convince us that reality doesn't matter so much as aesthetic satisfaction. In Auggie's New York smoke shop, day by day passes, seemingly unchanging until he teaches us to notice the little details of life. Paul Benjamin, a disheartened and broken writer, has a brush with death that is pivotal and sets up an unlikely series of events that afford him a novel glimpse into the life on the street which he saw, but did not truly perceive, every day. Finally, it's Auggie's turn to spin a tale....Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
The story that Paul Benjamin (William Hurt) tells about the son who found his dead father's body frozen on a mountain, is the same story that Paul Auster used in his novel, "The New York Trilogy". See more »
Auggie takes his daily picture from a typical tripod, below shoulder level. Yet the photos in his album are taken from eye-level position or higher. In fact, the alignment of the traffic signal and the building behind it is so consistent from picture to picture, that they were most likely taken from a fixed mount. See more »
A nice, quiet film, light years away from the (Hollywood) mainstream
The characters are genuine, funny, sensitive, tragic... just human. They are sympathetic with their small weaknesses and their daily problems. The movie gives a realistic description of the daily life of ordinary people in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn has the star role. In fact the movie seems like a declaration of love to this city, although when compared to Woody Allen's "Manhattan", the approach is completely different.
The message is in a way surprising (maybe because of my European bias): Even in this money driven, rough, fast living, time-is-money, urban and individualistic environment there is a lot of love, friendship and humanity. Humanity means also that we do things which eventually do not make very much sense, are not logical and which may be very emotional. Smoking belongs to such activities. It is an activity which needs a work break. It gives us an opportunity for a stop and for starting rethinking issues. Therefore the small cigar shop, which appears like an island within a stormy ocean, like the antipode to the bustle environment.
Sometimes some of the hurry enters the shop, but the clocks seem to tick differently there and at the end everything calms down. I like this movie.
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