A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.
When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.
Theater director Caden Cotard is mounting a new play. Fresh off of a successful production of Death of a Salesman, he has traded in the suburban blue-hairs and regional theater of Schenectady for the cultured audiences and bright footlights of Broadway. Armed with a MacArthur grant and determined to create a piece of brutal realism and honesty, something into which he can put his whole self, he gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in Manhattan's theater district. He directs them in a celebration of the mundane, instructing each to live out their constructed lives in a small mock-up of the city outside. As the city inside the warehouse grows, Caden's own life veers wildly off the tracks. The shadow of his ex-wife Adele, a celebrated painter who left him years ago for Germany's art scene, sneers at him from every corner. Somewhere in Berlin, his daughter Olive is growing up under the questionable guidance of Adele's friend, Maria. He's helplessly driving his marriage to actress ... Written by
At the start of the film, when 'Phillip Seymour Hoffman' is reading the news at the breakfast table, he reads out that "Harold Pinter has died.... wait.... no - he's won the Nobel prize". This is a reference to a famous Sky News clip whereby Sky, in their rush to be first with breaking news, accidentally announced that Harold Pinter was dead. In fact it had just been announced that he was to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature. See more »
When Caden and Hazel are talking about Hazel's relationship with Sammy, in the background, the actress Tammy lights a cigarette. Seconds later, when the scene is shown from a different angle, again Tammy lights the cigarette. See more »
SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK is Charlie Kaufman's first film as a director, and his sixth as a screenwriter. Kaufman has supplied us with some of the most delightful mind-benders in recent years, and if not just layered with surrealism they all have a wonderful heart. His latest is another trip into a landscape of oddity, with serious and not so serious questions around life and all it's hidden treasures. Earlier, his film's may have had some unreasoned or unexplainable outcomes, but they've been managed by a fresh breath of air in different directors, most successfully Spike Jonze (and to mention George Clooney and Michael Gondry). This time he takes direction in his own hands, and he puts a characteristic, dirty palette and sets a depressive tone to it, so nobody's to blame Kaufman for resting on his laurels. With the Kaufman foundation, there's everything I love about him, but throughout I got the feeling of Kaufman putting himself in a tight corner during this. His soloing management becomes a knot of unanswered questions, loose ends and mind-trips all too weird to mention. Think about David Lynch, he is a great director, no doubt about that, but make him film a apple, and suddenly it's all a masterpiece. Why? Because it's Lynch, and well, he's probably the single most important and most successful surrealist in cinema history. Kaufman is surely one of the most original screenwriters Hollywood's ever seen, but when handpicking from his own arsenal, all by himself and with nobody to artistically co-operate with, Kaufman goes into overload.
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