Smoking Causes Coughing

Smoking Causes Coughing ★★★½


Definitely my favourite of the three new Quentin DuPieux this year. Feels more like a loose collection of sketches and ideas for shorts than a full film, but that works well with the casual feel of his work. 

What starts as a Power Rangers parody with a group of besuited heroes using the various chemicals in cigarettes to give monsters cancer turns into a “let’s tell stories around the campfire” excuse to let anything happen. The stories that follow are amongst the funniest and sharpest in DuPieux’s filmography. The first of these, about two young couples on holiday finding a “thinking cap” that blocks out all other stimuli and allows the wearer to focus solely on their own thoughts, is probably the truest and funniest depiction I’ve ever seen of what it feels like to be trapped in your own mind. DuPieux and Doria Tillier perfectly capture the sort of thought spirals I can get trapped in so easily, how the tiniest imperfections or personality quirks in another person can quickly snowball into a full manifesto on why they’re fundamentally soulless and inhuman. But, you know, funny.

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