- Original title
- Running time
- 112 min.
- United States
Harold Perrineau Jr.,
Drama | Independent Film (US). 1980s. Ensemble Film. Photography
- Synopsis / Plot
- In 1990, novelist Paul Auster was asked to contribute a Christmas story to the New York Times. The resulting piece, "Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story," forms the basis for his screenplay for SMOKE. Directed by Wayne Wang and set in a Brooklyn cigar store, Auster expanded the story to include four other characters whose lives intertwine with Auggie Wren’s. As Auggie, the manager of the store that serves as a neighborhood meeting place, Harvey Keitel gives a restrained, mellow performance. The other characters, Paul (William Hurt), a blocked writer; Rashid (Harold Perrineau Jr.), a troubled youth; Ruby (Stockard Channing), Auggie’s former lover; and Cyrus (Forest Whitaker), Rashid’s long-lost father, form a web of relationships over a few summer days. Auster, who had previously adapted his novel THE MUSIC OF CHANCE into a taut script, here exhibits a loose, almost improvisational style as he lets his characters simply talk about their lives. Wang eschews the big, somewhat melodramatic style he used in THE JOY LUCK CLUB for relaxed, natural direction that allows the actors, who are all terrific, to project an everyday realism seldom seen in American movies. The actual Christmas story appears at the end in a beautiful black-and-white montage, accompanied by a bittersweet Tom Waits song.
: Berlin Film Festival: Silver Bear - Special Jury Prize
: David di Donatello Awards: Best Foreign Actor (Harvey Keitel). 2 nominations
1995: Chlotrudis Awards: Nominated Best Actor (Harvey Keitel)
: Independent Spirit Awards: Best First Screenplay. 2 Nominations
: Cesar Awards: Nominated for Best Foreign Language Picture
: German Film Awards: Best Foreign Film
: Screen Actors Guild (SAG): Nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Channing)
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