Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Charlie Kaufman is a genious

Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)

Synecdoche, New York is a film about life and everything that it encompasses. This overly ambitious film is the synecdoche (si-nek-duh-kee), when a part is used for the whole, where in 124 minutes on a projected screen you can experience a film that captures the process of mortality. The story is about a theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) his latest project is a successful yet artistically submisive adaptation of Death of a Salesman played by young actors that honestly baffles his father as well his wife Adele (Catherine Keener) misses the premiere to send out miniature crates containing her tiny paintings. These early scenes give off a necessary comical relief to contrast the darker broodings that follow. Soon after Adele leaves him and takes away their daughter due to his self-depreciating nature. He becomes enormously disturbed and this disastifaction stays with him through out his life. His next projects is a recreation of his past and on-going memories of his life in a football sized theater in New York city where he is getting actors to play the people from his life. This is done in a very comical fashion where in a scene there would be the real Caden Cotard, the actor playing him and a double which is not only funny but calls into questions the essense of ones own identity. The story unravels through diary entries, dream sequences and re-creations of memories that have emotional importance which defines him as a person. This is the most mature screenplay Charlie Kaufman has ever created which includes great movies like Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless mind, Adaptation and Being John Malovich. Unlike the hip style of the latter by Spike Jonze and Michelle Goundry, Synecdoche is Kaufmans directorial debut and the style is retricted to theater, which he is familiar with working as a stage director the last few years, and maximizes on medium shots and close ups. The style works with the conundrum the film brings up about how one would even go about presenting a play of that magnitude. Michelle Williams and Emily Watson have magnificent supporting roles as assistents to Caden. Their is a challenging aspect to the film that requires a constant engagemnt with the viewer that will keep you thinking about Synecdoche for days to come.-David Davidson

Synecdoche, New York premieres at the ByTowne Cinema Nov. 21st at 6:55 p.m. and will be there until the 27th. Tickets are $10, $6 for members.

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