Blue in the Face




In the film there is a sense of nostalgia for past days, when a local shop (in this film a tobacconist’s) stood for a meeting place where people could share their ideas, pay one another company and most of all feel united by common values (e.g. friendship, etc.)

What do you feel nostalgic of?

The sequel Blue in the Face, did not meet the critic approval as Smoke.  Can you say why?  Is there anything you did not appreciate of the movie?

Both in Smoke and Blue in the Face, the film director and the filmscript writer, chose famous actors or celebrities from other artistic fields.  Why?  What is the effect?


Can you explain the title “Blue in the Face”?  The dictionary meaning is “exhausted and speechless, as from excessive anger, physical strain, etc.”.  Does this make sense?

What is the view you get of New York? (consider not only the scenes, but also what the actors say about it)


 blue in the faceThe story goes that when director Wayne Wang and writer Paul Auster were making  Smoke, a story about the regulars in a Brooklyn cigar store, they felt such a richness in the characters that they were reluctant to stop after the filming was completed. With their star, Harvey Keitel, as a ringleader, they talked Miramax out of enough money to make another film, right then and there, on the same location, with some of the same actors, plus various celebrities they talked into doing walk-ons.
The new film, called  Blue in the Face, was shot in six days, and sometimes feels like it.  The movie begins well, with an early scene where Mira Sorvino plays a woman whose purse is snatched in front of the store.  Keitel races after the little boy who grabbed it, and hauls him back to the store, only to discover that Sorvino has taken pity on him and doesn’t want to press charges. Keitel, who has seen a lot of purses snatched, tells her the cops should be called, and when Sorvino doesn’t budge, what he does next follows a certain seductive logic.
The store’s owner (
Victor Argo
) reveals to Keitel, his manager, that he plans to close down the cigar shop and sell out to a health food chain. Keitel tries to explain that the store is a valuable part of the neighbourhood – that people use it to touch base and stay in touch, and that when enough places close, a neighbourhood dies.
That theme leads to memories of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the way that Brooklyn died a small death when they moved out of town.
There are memories of the Dodgers, augmented with flashbacks, and then a surprise visitor to the store – Jackie Robinson (famous baseball player), turning up like an outtake from "
Field of Dreams."

Here’s an excerpt that features the two best parts, monologues from Lou Reed and Jim Jarmusch:

Lou Reed on living in New York:

I’m scared of my own apartment. I’m scared twenty-four hours a day, but not necessarily in New York. I actually feel pretty comfortable in New York. I get scared, like, in Sweden. You know, it’s kind of empty, they’re all drunk. Everything works. If you stop at a stop light and don’t turn your engine off people come over and talk to you about it. You go to the medicine cabinet and open it up and there’ll be a little poster saying, “In case of suicide, call…” You turn on the TV and there’s an ear operation. These things scare me. New York? No.

Jim Jarmusch smoking his last cigarette ever:

Why is it in every movie there’s a shootout, and when they run out of bullets, they fling the gun away? Like it’s a disposable cigarette lighter or something. What’s up with that? Guns cost a lot of money. Can’t you reload it? You know what I’m saying? They always throw the gun out. And another thing in movies I think is real weird, like war movies, Nazis in movies.  Why do they always smoke like in some weird way…like this? [Holds cigarette upright, between ring and pinky finger]  Yah, vee haf vays of making you talk, Auggie.


This entry was posted in Paul Auster. Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Blue in the Face

  1. anonimo says:

    I feel nostalgic of my childhood, maybe. I feel nostalgic of my life when I had not so many worries, when life seemed to be more beautiful, when I had not to think about my future… But growing up is something that couldn’t be avoided. Everybody has to face the difficoulties of life. I don’t feel nostalgic about changes in the world, or in my city, because I’m not old enough to have noticed them. I can’t feel nostalgic of the 60s or the 19th century, because I can only read descriptions of them, I didn’t see them.

    I think the critic didn’t appreciate the film as much as “Smoke” because in “Blue in the Face” there is not a clear and linear plot. There are not different stories mixed up, but only some little scenes of life in Brooklin. It seems to be only a view of the city, and not a film. This is because there was not a script, but only a general thread to follow, and actors were supposed to improvise.

    I think some celebrities were chosen to give a sort of good quality to the film. Another reason could be the effect they may have on the public: seeing Madonna in the film, and recognising her, made me happy in a certain way, I was…like proud, but I don’t know why.

    The actors were told to act until they were “blue in the face”, probably this is the reason of the title, even though I can’t match it with the theme of the film, or the “plot”.

    I’ve been to New York, but I didn’t visit Brooklin. I didn’t recognise the atmosphere I found in Manhattan, which was more free, more open to new people. Watching the film it seems that Brooklin is more close: there are people from all countries of the world, and from any social class, but they seem to live in their world. They know each other, and their life is bound to something, the tobacconist’s shop in this case. It seems they create a sort of circle, open only to people from Brooklin.

    Pietro Perin

  2. MicheleDB says:

    In my opinion we must overcome our past or at least to leave back bad things and to keep the other. However, as I saw many times in this blog, I’m nostalgic of my childhood. I would prefer an easier life, without any kind of problem and where the only important thing were to play. Our life was focused on game, day after day everyone matured a conscience and the consciousness of belonging to the human society.

    The film did not gain the success of the previous movie because of its fragmentally plot and for the choice of the music. The use of famous people can create interest and curiosity in the spectator even if the part they act is not very long.

    The cigars shop represents the missing part of a big city, New York that, by now, lose some values that are typical and necessary in every other city.

    Concerning the title, I cannot give a strong explanation but it is linked to the sentence said by Auggie when he is angry.

  3. MicheleDB says:

    correzione: lose -> has lost

  4. anonimo says:

    I don’t think I would have my childhood again. I hated it and I still hate it. My only expectation and hope is to go away and start a new life. People think about their childhood because they have a terrible life and they wish they were in the past, playing with simple games, living a life simple and happy. Others talk about their childhood because they love refresh their memories. Childhood for some people is like an utopian world, for others is a nightmare which has to be deleted.

    I already said that I didn’t like “Smoke”, so do I for “Blue in the Face”. I have no idea why critics didn’t approve this movie as the previous, maybe because the plot was less linear then in “Smoke” (where was all except for linear) or because the dialogue were quite unrealistic.

    So I have no idea why they use famous actors in the movies. It’s beautiful having someone famous in the film but if the movie works, I don’t catch the necessity of using them. Perhaps to demonstrate that also famous people are human being and not aliens. But I don’t see the connection.

    For what concern the title I can suppose that refers to Auggie: he is “blue in the face” because they want him to sell the shop which is the place where they meet. But this is only a thought.

    Elena Poles

  5. anonimo says:

    Arnoldi Martina

    i’m nostalgic of my chilhood when at Christmas my family,my relatives and i went to my grandparents and we ate my grandpa is very ill and my grandma is not very well..but at least i have a wonderful remembrance!every christmas i am with my relatives and with my family but is not the same as my childhood’s Christmas.

  6. anonimo says:

    In the past, relating with other people was very important I think. Now people are isolated and no interested very well in meeting places; perhaps we have no time to do this, but the difference is evidence. Our vision of relationships is very different from the past, sometimes more superficial because we think that we can survive without the interaction with other people,but we can’t. We can’t go on thinking that ignore the other is the solution. We are afraid of other people.

    “Blue in the face” is not an easy film to understand and is it very particular as a film because it is a docu-film; this is why people didn’t like it,I think. I like the film, so I have nothing negative to say.

    Famous actors are example of our lifestyle,of how the society is changed in positive and negative. Auster’s purpose in this film is to criticize the contemporary society,represented by celebrities.

    The title is perfect: every character in the film quarrel with one another and so the viewer perceive this anger during all the film.

    In this film New York semees a common city, not the big city we know, a city in which are living people from different countries.

    Giulia Canzi

  7. anonimo says:

    Luca Gasparin

    I feel nostalgic of my childhood, when I didn’t have all the problems I have now.

    With this sentence I do not want to say that I condemn my present, but I think that now I am growing and I have more responsibilities and more things to think about.

    I think that “Blue in the Face” is too static to be a film and while, for example, in “Smoke” there is a sort of story of all the characters, in this film there is not a principal story but is more like a documentary about the rule of Brooklyn in different people’s lives. For this reason I think that this movie did not meet the critic approval as “Smoke”.

    In my opinion Paul Auster and Wayne Wang chose famous actors or celebrities from other artistic fields as Madonna and Lou Reed, to catch people interest and attention and to emphasize the concept that I’m going to explain later.

    “I’m blue in the face” is said just one time in the film by Auggie’s girlfriend, when she was angry with him. For this reason I think that the title is appropriate to the film because although it was said just one time, but in a very important moment of the film.

    With this film we can see the real NY and not the utopian view of this city that others films give us. Another important aspect is the behaviour of people that appear in the film that is the same as people who are living in different cities, in fact in any city there is someone who want to escape from it and change his life; in the film there are the store’s owner’s wife and the black guy that want to make a change in their common and normal life.

  8. anonimo says:

    This is one of my defects, I feel nostalgic of everything: my previous school (marks :)), friends, I feel nostalgic of all my unusual experiences (St. Petersburg for example), even of my driving school! In general, I feel nostalgic of my past, especially of when I didin’t need to make important choices, when things were easier, life was easier..

    I will be honest.. My first reaction to the film was: “Well, better than Smoke!”.. but I feel “guilty” after reading what the critics and you think about it.. perhaps it is because it was easier for me to understand “Blue in the face”, the plot was easier and I laughed during the film, which is very important in my opinion! I think the critics reacted like that because there isn’t a real plot in this film, there is only a sequence of moments, not always linked one another; there are not many important themes and I think the role of the “stars” was just to make these “light” moments appear as “important”, to catch the attention, to raise the level of the film.

    With regard to the title, I remember a scene of the film when the woman who is in love with Auggie is angry, looks at herself in the mirror and says: “I am blue in the face!!”, I think the meaning of the dictionary corresponds perfectly.. Perhaps the choice of this title was taken from this scene.. I can’t think about any other possible meaning..

    I like the image of New York given in this film: I thought it was a chaotic city full of different kinds of people but I thought they weren’t interested in communicating.. Auggie’s cigar shop showed us the opposite: many people come and go out of the shop, tell their stories, argue, laugh, play the guitar :). Anyway the will of Auggie’s boss to sell the shop means a lot about what New York is becoming, fortunately he won’t be able to do that!

    –Maiutto Jessica–

  9. anonimo says:

    I feel nostalgic of the past , when all the things seem to be easy, when there were no problem that made us suffer.I fell nostalgic even of the period of the elementary school when i begin to meet the real friends that even today i frequent. In the end i feel nostalgic of the period when i stay with my grandfather.

    The film “Blue in the face” haven’t meet the critic approval as “Smoke” maybe because this film hasn’t got a real plot.There are lots of people that gives their ideas,their points of view.There are people of different culture and ideas that they meet each other in a cigaret shop,that is a point of reference.

    The fact that some characters are famous people involve people that like that person.For example if i like Madonna and i know that she plays a part in that film as an actress, i’m intresting in see how she acts and what part she acts.

    “Blue in the face” meens that we are angry,that we don’t see nothing because we are nervous and we don’t agree with some decisions and we suffer.We suffer inside and we can’t change the things so we are soffocated by the things that we want to say but that aren’t sufficient to change the real situation.

    Denise Martin

  10. anonimo says:


    This film is the metaphor of many human vices. Starting from the man that smokes his last cigarette, the movie takes every human fault and gives it in front of the spectator’s eyes. Brooklyn is the example of a borough with too much differences and regrets and it is the symbol of a society troubled by so many yearnings; but Brooklyn is also a “little New York” in which we can see serious social hardships. So Blue in the Face (that stands for a society exhausted and speechless, as a form of physical strain) is a title that gives exactly this meaning to the film.

    In spite of Smoke, this film did not meet the same critic approval maybe because Blue in the Face is a film less upright than Smoke. As a matter of fact in Smoke there is continuity that Blue in the Face does not have. Both the films however have famous actors or celebrities in their casts; I think that it is a way to surprise spectators.

    In the end I don’t feel nostalgic for something; I think that at my age I can only be happy for the life that was given to me.

  11. anonimo says:


    I feel nostalgic for the two years I spent in Belgium. There I made lots of friends, I had a great time with them, and sometimes I miss them.

    I know that you did not ask me if I liked this film, but I want to share my opinion.

    I found this film really boring.

    There is not a real and strong story as background. There are some characters that speak to each other, they share their opinion on Brooklyn, on cigarettes, on society.

    I do not know why they chose famous actors, I think it was a nonsense choice, above all the choice of having Madonna in this film. I find it very superficial.

    Blue in the Face can be referred to Auggie: he is angry because his manager plans to close down the shop; to Auggie’s girlfriend, because she is angry with Auggie; to the store’s owner’s wife.

    The only think I like about this film is Auggie. I love Harvey Keitel, the way he can represent his character and the way he give voice to the real soul of Brooklyn.

  12. anonimo says:

    i feel nostalgic of one part of my childhood, the years i spent in my old house. i had a stronger relationship with my grandparents but i remember with vivid nostalgia the school. we were only 9-10 students in each class, we were united and were i moved with my family, althought for 1 or 2 dozens kilometers, i lost all my friend.

    i personally appreciate blue in the face more than smoke. i think it is an experiment made to portrait the real life of a district of the busy and caotic NY. unlike the ordinary films, this shows the coexistence of people from all part of the world but it give ( at least in my opinion) a sensation that everyone who lives there feel a sense of being at home. even the people who say their opinion are so unusual and different ( black, white, yellow, old, young and so on ) that if they all say that they love there, well, i believe it. and a place like the tobacconist’s is extraordinary vbecause has the power to unite all the people and all the difference. perhaps it was too much experimentalist to have a good mark. perhaps they didn’t appreciate the original connotation of the movie.

    about the presence of famous character in the movie i agree to what we said in class. m. j. fox, madonna are icons of the american ( and international) low culture and so their presence, and their ridiculous parts, are made for a critic intent

    giacomin elena

  13. anonimo says:

    In this moment the only thing of what I feel nostalgia is my boyfriend, he makes me feel happy and a good person, when he recovers me of attention I don’t miss anything, i don’t need to feel nostalgia of my childhood because my present is nicer than the past now =). When I think of the last years the only thing that I remember vividely are moments when I felt like crying or shouting, because of some marks at school, or because lots of my best friends, cousins and relatives are far away from me and so I felt alone. He doesn’t make me miss them, that doesn’t mean that I don’t care any more about school or the lack of relatives near me, but everytime that I’m sad or I feel like crying, even if we are far away from each other, only listening to his voice makes me happy, and then he knows always how to make my mouth laughing again.

    I don’t like Blue in the face very much, maybe because of the lack of a plot, the scenes change confusionally and sometimes seems they don’t make any sense, perhaps that is why it didn’t meet the critic approval as Smoke; this one, I would say, is more interesting, maybe is only an opinion, but I prefer to see film with a plot or a semi-plot, where I’m able to connect the events. In both of the films there are famous actors and celebrities, maybe to create connection between the different artistic fields (I’m referring to Madonna and Lou Reed), celebrities have not a relevant role on these films, maybe to underline that everybody are the same, there are not person who are better than other.

    At the end of the film I’ve given to the title a possible meaning, after the film I felt a bit ”Blue in the face”, exhausted and speechless, because of the confusion and the unconnection between the scenes.

    There are in the film lots of moment when people talks about New York, exposing the pros and the cons, I would like to see it one day in my future, I’m curious!

    ..carla cipolla..

  14. anonimo says:

    Blue in the face is the sequel of smoke,in fact the setting is the same(the tobacco shop in Brooklyn)and even the main character is always Auggie Wren played by an actor that in my opinion perfectly embodies the essence of the movie and the city of Brooklyn.

    I think it didn’t meet the critic approval because it hasn’t got a real plot a real story to speak of,it is dotted with several sketches,disconnected vignettes not always linked together.,it may seem the result of the collection of notes Paul Auster jotted down during the creation of smoke,that make the film recycled,not so fresh.

    I personally liked the film,it was extremely funny,the actors were spontaneous the cues realistic and it shows the real soul of new york and its boroughs,it is not only characterised by business consumerism frenzy detouched relationship between people,in this beautiful city there is also a great sense of community,in the movie people coming from different places,of different ages meet in the tobacco shop,help each other in order to find their own identity,this is what makes NY unique.moreover I appreciated the numerous cameos such as the singing telegram messenger played by Madonna it was amusing even if behind there is a deep social criticism.

    I think it is the best film directed by Paul Auster it is really amazing!

    Montrasio Valentina

  15. anonimo says:

    I feel nostalgic of lots of moments for example moments of my childhood when the biggest problems was choose the best dress for my favourite doll, when play and have fun were key words!. In winter I feel nostalgic of summer, sea and friends! And now I already feel nostalgic of these Christmas holiday, of all wonderful moments spends with my family and above all with my friends in this holiday atmosphere that is going to end while school impends over!;-)…So I feel a “little bit” nostalgic of everything!! XD…but this feeling doesn’t condition my everyday life because I’m curious and enterprising and I love watching to the future more than the past!!

    In the film Blue in the Face there is a strong sense of nostalgia for all moments and meanings of the tobacconist’s shop which represent the centre of the entire city of Brooklyn where people meet each other, share opinions, mix cultures and knowledge and in all these differences they feel all friends! all citizens of Brooklyn! In my opinion the main character Auggie Wren embodies best this concept! I found this actor perfect for this role! His personality, his voice and his expressions represent the real Man of Brooklyn and he is also the one that carries on the tobacco’s shop and all the meanings that are linked with it!

    In my opinion, The film is funny and easy to see, even the fact that there is no plot but only a sequence of scenes gives to this film a new taste, different from the film that we normally see at the cinema or on tv!, it is an experimental film ,actors have no script and the result consists in a film that is a total improvisation!!!

    One thing remains unappreciated by me: the role of the two famous artists like Madonna and Lou Reed.. I didn’t like at all the scene interpreted by Madonna, I found it superficial and unnecessary, I know that there are strong social meaning behind this scene and the choice of the actress but I didn’t enjoy seeing it!!!

    -Martina Nadal-

  16. anonimo says:

    I feel nostalgic of the time I spent during my childhood in our villa in the country. It is a very big house, with a huge park behind it and with an orchard. I spent there a lot of time during my summer holidays, playing with my cousin and her dog. There, the days passed so quickly that I couldn’t even realize it.

    Perhaps ‘Blue in the Face’ didn’t meet the critic approval because it seems to be a continuation of ‘Smoke’, a ‘minor part’, like the ones you see once a film is over. They considered it less serious, not so deep as ‘Smoke’. Moreover, this film hasn’t got a thread, it is made of a series of skits that sometimes appear completely disconnected. I would say that this is a very curious film, the different vignettes, although disconnected, reflect perfectly Brooklyn’s multifaceted character: it is a city in which different races of people live and thus very different habits and customs coexist.

    I liked the fact that famous characters were chosen, it makes the film more intriguing.

    ‘Blue in the Face’ is a title that suits the film: it means exhausted and speechless; in fact the many different aspects of New York, its frenetic lifestyle and the moltitude of people makes you always feel in a rush, ‘blue in the face’…

    Jana Stefani

  17. anonimo says:

    I feel nostalgia of the beautiful moments of my life, not exactly a period, but events, weeks passed with friends, outings, entertainment.i take with me good memories of many occasions that stimulate me to collect new and beautiful experience. I am sure that despite all I will feel nostalgia high school once outside.

    Although the two films are set in the same place,they treat various topics, “Blue in the face” tells of shares ideals of a neighborhood of Brooklin,for them the cigar shop is a meeting place, where share their ideas . This film is not linear but crammed interventions, flashbacks, and parallel stories that makes it differ from the “Smoke”. I

    I really appreciated the film as it is funny but rich in events and dear to those people.

    I think that the authors have chosen famous people of the artistic world because they are closer to viewers, and better able to convey the reality of what they are saying instead. (Madonna was great).

    The title is about a phrase taken from the film, Auggie said it to his girlfriend that accused him to cheat on her, so he got upset.

    I was in New York, but the impression I had during those 3 days is quite different from what the players told . Only those who live there can feel the pulse of the people, the frustration of some and the joy of others. This film made me rethink everything that I have seen in a new light.

    Matteo Cervesato

  18. anonimo says:

    This film definitely stroke me, well, it is not a film that you’d call so, I mean, it is more like more films mashed up together, it is a sort of documentary of life in Brooklyn. The only leitmotiv you can find in the film is the cigar shop. It has a function of keeping the neighbourhood together, in fact it is the place where several “characters” of the society meet and relate. From the businessman, owner of the shop, to a black rapper, who tries to sell watches in the cigar shop while he talks of black people, from Auggie’s strange helper, who is a constant presence in the film, to Auggie’s Hispanic neurotic girlfriend. I liked also the spots, in which people of different nationality give data on Brooklyn. And obviously I enjoyed the extremely funny monologues of Lou Reed, where he mixes wise concepts with total nonsense, and the weird cameo of Madonna singing a telegram. These appearances probably make the watcher notice the difference between this kind of film, shot in six days with a limited budget with no special effects etc., and an Hollywood’s film. In the end I must say that I really enjoyed this movie, even if it took me a while to understand it. I think the negative response of the critic is caused by the psychological characteristic of the film, it is not a “ready-to-be-watched film” but you must interpret it and recollect and reconstruct the various moment in order to understand your own meaning of the film. Maybe the critic thought the audience wouldn’t have appreciated this aspect.

    Riccardo Bagattin

  19. PaulAuster2008 says:

    sorry for the delay, but i thought i had posted my reply to your considerations, whereas, just now i was checking our blog and i realised that some of my posts had not been added to the page. so here is the comment to your considerations (for the sake of brevity, I am not referring to each post!):

    I must confess that the more I read what you write the prouder I feel of most of you. I can see in some of you such headway that convinces me even more that the blog is a great means of expression and a great means of improving one’s writing skill. Why don’t you assess that yourself? Why don’t you go to your first post and compare it to your latest? You will soon realize yourself the progress you have made! Unfortunately this is not the case for all of you. Some do still need to work harder, very few still need to start working!!!

    Thanks for your nice comments, it seems we all feel nostalgic in different ways and about different things. There are some of us who look back in time and long for past values, emotions that seems lost now, there are others who do not want to live on past memories, but desire to live the present fully.

    Marco (n.3) points out an important element: it is easier, perhaps, to appreciate Paul Auster, if you have visited New York yourself. Most of his works are a tribute and an analysis of his own city (Brooklyn), which he describes beautifully and enigmatically at the same time.

  20. anonimo says:

    What is “Blue in the Face”? An experimental film, a documentary or a series of episodes that have nothing in common but Auggie Wren’s famous tobacconist?

    We can find the answer, as in the predecessor of this film, “Smoke” in the context in which the events develop. The slogan of the movie poster is: “Welcome to the Planet Brooklyn”. Our, so to say, spaceships are the two directors Paul Auster and Wayne Wang, who make us land on this multicoloured, multifaceted planet, and we can explore, for 80 minutes, the most varied life forms that inhabit this peculiar corner of the world. Once again, the American author gives the spectator the opportunity to become part, for a moment, of a place that is, perhaps, unique. Brooklyn, the district of New York, the protagonist of the first film “Smoke”, here is back: more ironic, multifaceted than ever. The district is always the same, like the persons who populate it. The fundamental difference between the two movies is the way of shooting them, very different in “Smoke” and in this sequel. In the first film, the story developed issues such as paternity, the randomness of life and the tragedy or lucky it may lead to; leaving, however, some moments that described the irony and the particular vitality of the shop and of Brooklyn. “Blue in the Face” is characterized by the fragmentation of events and by a stronger and more explicit irony, showing the most comic and serene aspects of Brooklyn’s life. This must not confuse: the film is not explicitly a comic film, it is an original comedy, who knows how to alternate absurdly cheerful and carefree moments and highly introspective moments that suggest a deep sense of nostalgia and sadness, looking at the past time. The Brooklyn of the past is what Auggie and his friends remember with great pleasure, because it is the Brooklyn of their youth. There is the memory of the times when Brooklyn was one of the most important places of American baseball, when the Brooklyn Dodgers team was a great protagonist on the sports grounds, strengthening the pride of Brooklyn’s inhabitants, because all the players were from Brooklyn. The images of a documentary on the old stadium in Brooklyn, now demolished, flow fast in black and white, as if they symbolize the elusive and far memory, of what was and will never return again. Nostalgia, that comes from everyday small things, that are full of meaning for each one of us (like the last cigarette, which becomes the occasion to remember the most important occasions when we smoked). And Paul Auster tells us a lot about his inner life and his personal experience in this; the nostalgia for the past is a human, almost physiological event: the writer is nostalgic of “his” Brooklyn, and he says it, hoping to be able to make the spectator understand that and, why not, share this feeling with him.

    But “Blue in the Face” is much more. It is a parade of stars, Brooklyn is populated for the first time by world renowned characters (Michael J. Fox, Madonna) that represent extravagant and sometimes absurd persons, emphasizing the incredible heterogeneousness of the district. Famous people who not only play someone but also give (Lou Reed) his vision of the place where they spent most of their lives, with irreverent and disarming humour. Next to music and movie stars there is the real “soul” of Brooklyn, ordinary people, those who know Brooklyn as it was a close relative and speak about it. And this is the intent of Auster in these two films, to show what is really Brooklyn, and to make the spectator appreciate and savour the essence of this place, its small manias, its people and its traditions, remembering with nostalgia his past experience. And, perhaps, for this reason Auster -and Brooklyn’s people too- is “Blue in the Face” (from the words of Auggie’s girlfriend, Violet): because of something that is gone, because of the mistakes of the past, because of the very essence of a past that remains only an image in black and white, with a stadium that inexorably falls down.

    Raggiotto Francesco

  21. PaulAuster2008 says:

    Francesco, you can really write good film reviews! Ever thought of dealing with this issue (fiction and film adaptation) for your project area? You’d certainly do a good job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.