TIFF ‘08 Preview: Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York - Charlie Kaufman

Describing Charlie Kaufman’s movies — Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich — as “mind bending” is something of an understatement. His ability to craft multi-layered narratives that consistently blur the line between what’s happening inside and outside of his characters has made for some of the most unique — and maddening — films of the last ten years or so.

His latest film, Synecdoche, New York — which also happens to be his directorial debut — has the potential to be his most challenging film yet. The always-great Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a struggling theatre director working to get over a failed marriage and trying to bolster a flagging career. To do so, he hires an ensemble cast (which includes Emily Watson and Samantha Morton) and trundles them off to a warehouse containing a life-size replica of New York, and begins work on his magnum opus — a recreation of his own life right down to the most minute details.

Of course, this being a Kaufman film, you know things are going to get bizarre, as Hoffman’s life and art begin to blur and spiral out of control. Not surprisingly, the film has proven a little divisive at its previous screenings (e.g., Cannes 2008), but IMHO, it’s worth seeing because there’s really nothing quite like a Charlie Kaufman film.

Check out Synecdoche, New Yorks official TIFF entry here.