The Last Cigarette

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

To light up or not to light up: That is the question, especially as ever-tougher laws drive adult smokers back into the bathrooms and stairwells of their youths. This witty documentary weaves together decades of images of cigarette smoking, pro and con, into a portrait of cultural perspectives on the dreaded weed. Movie clips featuring sophisticated smokers,...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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To light up or not to light up: That is the question, especially as ever-tougher laws drive adult smokers back into the bathrooms and stairwells of their youths. This witty documentary weaves together decades of images of cigarette smoking, pro

and con, into a portrait of cultural perspectives on the dreaded weed. Movie clips featuring sophisticated smokers, anti-smoking educational reels, vintage cigarette commercials, footage of congressional hearings on tobacco industry practices, near-surreal animated sequences illustrating smoking's

effect on the body and porno flicks for smoking fetishists: Taken together they form a crazy quilt of conflicting attitudes, some of them truly bizarre. What is the ordinary person to make of those heavily made up (and fully dressed) chippies, dragging on their filter-tips and describing their

favorite smoking techniques in tones usually reserved for 1-900 phone lines? In the end it's not an especially informative film: Co-director Kevin Rafferty's previous features include THE ATOMIC CAFÉ, a truly eye-opening look at the grotesque mix of naivté, cold war paranoia and jaunty confidence

in science and government that characterized late '50s/early '60s attitudes towards the atomic bomb. But is there anyone today who really hasn't heard that smoking isn't good for you? Even the evasive tobacco company execs concede as much, though they're very hung up on the matter of degree and

right to choose to indulge in risky behavior. And is there anyone who doesn't know that tobacco is a big, immensely profitable business, and that Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco et al. aren't going to go down without a fight? But it's a witty bit of cultural history, and some of the

ephemera it incorporates is fascinating stuff.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: To light up or not to light up: That is the question, especially as ever-tougher laws drive adult smokers back into the bathrooms and stairwells of their youths. This witty documentary weaves together decades of images of cigarette smoking, pro and con, i… (more)

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