Saturday, April 23, 2022

The camera and Forest Whitaker's monologue in Wayne Wang's "Smoke"

In one scene in Wayne Wang's 1995 film "Smoke", the camera focuses for almost two minutes on Cyrus Cole (Forest Whitaker), as he smokes a cigar and tells the story of the hook on his left arm to a young man he doesn't know is his son Thomas Cole (Harold Perrineau). The stillness of the camera enables Whitaker's riveting reading of Cyrus's soliloquy. The immobile camera also echoes how Auggie Wren (Harvey Keitel) takes a picture from the same spot on the sidewalk across the street from his tobacco shop every morning at the same time. In both cases, a series of nearly identical pictures combines to generate a moving picture. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 23 April 2022)


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