Director: Wayne Wang
Writer: Paul Auster
Stars: Giancarlo Esposito, José Zúñiga, Stephen Gevedon, Harvey Keitel, Jared Harris
Countries: Germany, Japan, United States
The plot of this movie, like smoke, 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 movie tries to convince us that reality doesn’t matter so much as aesthetic satisfaction. In Auggie Wren’s (Harvey Keitel’s) New York City smoke shop, day by day passes, seemingly unchanging until he teaches us to notice the little details of life. Paul Benjamin (William Hurt), 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.