Romance & Cigarettes: Director Turturro's Statement

Writer-Director John Turturro on his Movie

The idea for this movie was born during the filming of “Barton Fink” (directed by the Coen brothers, 1991). 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 were in.

For me, “Romance & Cigarettes” is a working class opera. When people dont have money, they escape through song, much like prayer. Being a lover of Fellini, Powell and Pressburger, and Buuel, I was encouraged to not think I was completely out of my mind. Life isnt 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 madefull of love and wonder and occasional dirty thoughts.