Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York” was an instant classic for me. Not unlike the lead character Caden Cotard, after series of successful films – Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Kaufman earn a chance to direct a movie to define his legacy. Kaufman dint disappoint. Kaufman took on a plot so grand and ambitious it felt overwhelming and exhausting even to a ardent fan like me. To audience who is unfamiliar with his previous work will probably felt confuse by his characteristically blend of interchanging real and imaginary reality. My company to the cinema who is watching Kaufman for the first time was confused by it and frankly so was i. I however was able to accept the obscurities as just Kaufman being Kaufman, she could not.
while in one layer the film displayed an artist’s life at the peak of his career – longly, sick, domestically dysfunctional and obssese with his death and legacy. Properly a reflection of Kaufman’s own life (Kaugman did that also in Adaptation). The story is also about the existential conflict between the projected reality in our mind and the reality (hat tip Roger Ebert). we live by interacting most immediately with an projection of the real world in our own mind. Our project of the world is generally flawed and fill with what we want to see. So when the real world clashes with the projected world unexpected consequences is expected (like Sammy is suppose to love Tammy not Hazel, and Tammy is not suppose to jump and die).