Films About Coffee
“Coffee and Cigarettes” (2003)
This film is pretty much what it says on the tin, however, what you don’t get from the title is that it is actually 11 black and white short films all revolving around coffee and cigarettes as their main theme. Actors involved include Steve Coogan, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett as well as musicians such as Iggy Pop, The White Stripes, and Wu-Tang Clan.
The idea of each short is to depict two completely different characters on the same table, show them arguing, but still almost enjoying each others company at the same time.
The film was directed by Jim Jarmusch, and the aim was to make the 11 shorts build one on top of the other to achieve a cumulative effect. The idea of the shorts is to show the world at a normal place, and a cafe seems the ideal place to do this. In the words of IMBd, director Jim Jarmusch ‘shows just how absorbing the obsessions, joys and addictions of life can be, if truly observed.’
IMDb – 7/10 Rotten Tomatoes – 64%
“Black Gold” (2006)
A documentary film about the growing strife coffee farmers face in Ethiopia, this film is designed to be hard hitting and really get you thinking about what goes into the coffee you are buying. The film received relatively strong praise culminating in it winning the award from best achievement in production at the 2007 British Independent Film Awards.
Directed and produced by Marc Francis and Nick Francis of Speakit Films, the film follows the effort of an Ethiopian Coffee Union Manager (Tadesse Meskela) to cut out the huge gulf between mega-rich coffee companies and starving african coffee farmers. What follows are numerous harrowing and eye-opening stories of struggling farmers and their families on the quest to obtain a fairer price for the beans that they work so hard to produce. The film gained a lot of press coverage due to its content and the debate that surrounds it, The Washington Post said the film was a “poetic and hard-hitting critique of the global coffee industry” and The Daily Telegraph called the film “a moving but scandalous story”.
The film also contributed to a lot of good. The ruined school shown in the film was rebuilt, and Tadesse Meskela was invited to number ten downing street to discuss the major concerns with the coffee industry.
IMDb – 7.1/10 Rotten Tomatoes – 84%
“Black Coffee” (2014)
Black Coffee is a rom-com just released this year detailing the troubles of main character Robert (Darrin Dewitt Henson) after being fired from his fathers own painting company just after meeting his soulmate Morgan (Gabrielle Dennis). Robert takes advice from cousin Julian (Christian Keyes) who owns a lucrative business selling coffee to local businesses.
Julian advises Robert that he needs to leave what he calls the ‘plantation’ of white-owned business and start a business of his own, using his own coffee business as a glowing example. The film which released on January 10th has received an initial lukewarm press with Sheila O’Malley of Rogerebert.com describing the film of having a confused agenda and too many supposedly inspiring lectures. She also says while the film ultimately means well, it ends up being a big mess that not even promising actress Gabrielle Dennis can salvage.
IMDb – 5/10 Rotten Tomatoes – 40%