Romance & Cigarettes : About The Film

The idea for this movie was born during the filming of Barton Fink. I decided that I should be writing something for real when I was being photographed. On my typewriter I typed the title, the theme, the first scene, and the song “Man Without Love,” and a list of ideas for other scenes. I thought it was a great title and an interesting idea, but put it away for a long time.

While I was editing my second film Illuminata, there was a small musical sequence in it which seemed to spring a leak in my brain: the fantasy that we all have of being able to express ourselves musically, in whatever mood we’re in.

For me, Romance & Cigarettes is a working class opera. When people don’t have money, they escape through song, much like prayer. Being a lover of Fellini, Powell and Pressburger, and Buñuel, I was encouraged to not think I was completely out of my mind. Life isn’t a comedy, or a tragedy, or a musical, but all of these elements are part of our everyday experience. According to Aristotle, a drama must have plot, character, thought, poetry, music and dance. I just added sex.

I hope the audience receives the film in the spirit in which was made—full of love and wonder and occasional dirty thoughts.