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Emmys 2017
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Smoke & Blue in the Face

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Smoke & Blue in the Face

Current Status:
In Season
Paul Auster

We gave it an A-

Smoke & Blue in the Face, a collection of screenplays, a short story, an author interview, and assorted notes and asides, is calculated to make the reader feel, if not exactly there during the making of one of Miramax’s artsy, independent, bound-for-insider-glory-type films, then at least in on the process. The first film of the title, Smoke, written by Auster and directed by Wayne Wang (of Joy Luck Club fame), is based on a short story of Auster’s: a tale set in Brooklyn that features a cigar store, a writer, and an escapee from the ghetto. The second film is a chain of improvised skits that take place around the same cigar store. Screenplays are notoriously hard to read, and Auster’s are no exception. The first-hand accounts of the evolution of the films, on the other hand, are fascinating. It’s a dichotomy that perhaps brings this literary re-creation of a cinematic effort as close as possible to the real thing: a sometimes frustrating, sometimes obsessive, and sometimes inspired experience. A-