Blue in the Face

  • 88'
  • USA
  • 1994
Those who have seen Smoke, the film by director Wayne Wang and scriptwriter Paul Auster that was released last year in Holland, knows that this film does not just tell a story. It also intends to be an ode to Brooklyn and its inhabitants. During the preparations for the film, but even more wen it was being shot, Wang and Auster discovered that their characters started to lead a life of their own, independent of the script. Even the minor roles, of which only two or three scenes survived in the final version, acquired unforeseen features, usually only reserved for leading roles. Wang and Auster were reluctant to let go of these characters and managed to persuade the producers to extend the contracts of the actors and crew to make a second film on the same locations in Brooklyn. They thought up sketches to allow the actors to express themselves, resulting in a spontaneous, largely improvised film, in which the actors were able to work out their own ideas. The film had to be made fast and cheap - it was shot in less than a week. Blue in the Face is a kind of sequel to Smoke concentrating on Harvey Keitel in his role as the tobacconist Auggie Wren. Keitel is surrounded by guest stars from Michael J. Fox to Madonna, and by the inhabitants of Brooklyn to essential to the makers.
Wayne Wang, Paul Auster
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 1996
Blue in the Face Prods., M. Einwachter
Miramax Films, Concorde Film
Wayne Wang, Paul Auster
John Lurie
Jim Jarmusch, Lou Reed, Harvey Keitel
Local Distributor
Concorde Film