Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Inspiration: Synecdoche, New York

I've tried writing and re-writing my thoughts on Charlie Kaufman's new film, Synecdoche, New York, and I'm failing miserably. It's probably because it is not possible to make linear sense out of something that is beyond linear sense. It's a beautiful film, exploring the deepest questions of the nature of being an artist, and further and what it means to be human. A synecdoche, as described by Wikipedia, is a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing. A simple example would be referring to your car as your "wheels."

In Synecdoche, New York, director Caden Cotard creates a synecdoche of his entire life as a theatre piece, trying to relate life by being scrupulously honest in re-telling it onstage. In this excellent interview, Kaufman relates that film or a work of art itself is in fact a synecdoche. We are trying to relate the macro through the relating of the micro.

This deep search into understanding one's purpose and ability to connect and love hit me at a very deep level, and this was one of those rare and precious film-going experiences where I was so moved that I feel it altered my perception of life on a fundamental level. Those rare moments where you are pulled out of mundanity and see life from a higher, more objective perspective. It is inevitable that we must die, and the living of this life is what is so important, and I am reminded again of how precious and perfect every moment is.

I am so grateful to any work of art that forces that kind of deep introspection. I hope Kaufman continues to direct his own work and bring us these amazing, strange stories. I'll be watching.


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