The Cigarette short film review


Directed by: Philip Brocklehurst

Written by: Philip Brocklehurst

Starring: P.M. Thomas

Film Review by: Jason Knight

Still Image from The Cigarette

A cigarette is a thin cylinder of finely cut tobacco that has been rolled in paper and used for smoking. Despite the fact that they are hazardous to one's health, people all over the world smoke in order to feel relaxed. Brocklehurst's short film The Cigarette depicts an act that is seen everywhere, everyday: a person casually smoking a cigarette.

A man walks towards a brick wall and leans against it. He takes out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and places one between his teeth. He then uses a lighter to light it up and proceeds to smoke. When he finishes he throws the cigarette on the pavement, steps on it and walks away.

But there's a catch: there is no pack of cigarettes, no cigarette and no lighter. Thomas's character pretends that he is engaging in the act of smoking by miming all the relevant actions. And he does it very convincingly. For instance when he takes out his ''pack of cigarettes'', his hand acts like its holding the pack and his other acts like its taking one out, while Thomas even looks down at them, as if they are dealing with cigarettes for real. And when he ''smokes'', he inhales and exhales like he is actually smoking.

The film was shot in black and white, apart from the last shot which shows a closeup of a used cigarette (that one is seen) on the pavement. The black and white sequence could be interpreted as fantasy and the colour sequence could be reality. The fact that the man is ''smoking'' without the relevant items is of course awkward and surreal. When the film cuts to the cigarette on the pavement, it gives the impression that it has jumped into the real world, because now the cigarette is visible and there is the presence of colour. The fantasy section could also be the way things should be: people not smoking and damaging their health. And the reality section could be depicting the sad truth: people do smoke and often dump the cigarettes on the pavements, also damaging the environment.

Throughout the film the camera is stationary. Praise should go to the sound effects, particularly when the protagonist is using his ''lighter''. The sounds of the invisible lighter being used id heard and are heard at exactly the right moments.

The Cigarette has a duration of approximately one minute and fifteen seconds and no spoken words. It is rather short but clearly had a great deal of work put into it. A piece of work worthy of attention.