“There are stories that do not need a plot. Sooner or later they rise above the confusion and untangle their mysteries in a string of words.” — Patrice Nganang. Whenever you hear someone say “Man, that film had no plot whatsoever!”, the go-to assumption is that the film sucks. And it generally holds true too. Not always though.
A “Plot” is a literary term which defines the order of events in a story (told via any medium) through an interrelated sequence. Devising a plot is one of the very first steps of making a film, and a very important one too. Many visionary directors have made simple stories extraordinary just by tweaking the plot (Nolan‘s ‘Memento’ or Gaspar Noé’s ‘Irréversible’ are fine examples). But then there are those filmmakers who throw the conventional outlook of “filmmaking with a cohesive plot” out of the window and still manage to enthrall cinephiles, may it be with surreal visuals, contemplative dialogues, charismatic characters or all of the above. Here is the list top movies without plot or storyline.
10. Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)
‘Coffee and CIgarettes’ is an anthology film composed of 11 segments connected by, you guessed it, coffee and cigarettes. The theme of the film is absorption in the obsessions, joys, and addictions of life. The short B&W vignettes build on one another to create a cumulative effect, as the characters discuss things such as caffeine popsicles, Paris in the 1920s, and the use of nicotine as an insecticide – all while sitting around drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.
More than the titular pleasures, there are innumerable common threads between vignettes, such as the Tesla coil, medical knowledge, the suggestion that coffee and cigarettes don’t make for a healthy meal (generally lunch), cousins, delirium, miscommunication, musicians, the similarities between musicianship and medical skill, industrial music, acknowledged fame, and the idea of drinking coffee before sleeping in order to have fast dreams. In each of the segments of the film, the common motif of alternating black and white tiles can be seen in some fashion, emphasizing upon the theme of interpersonal contrasts, as each vignette features two people who disagree completely yet manage to sit amicably at the same table. A unique effort in ways more than one.
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