Synecdoche

How can I be so tired at only 10:10 p.m.? Is it possible I just have adjust to the time change yet…it’s after 1 a.m. in Florida.

Friday, by the way, I got to see one of my favorite writers, Charlie Kaufman interviewed after a preview of his directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York. The movie was both amazing and a little excruciating to sit through.

Kaufman talked about how he and Spike Jonze originally conceived of this work as a horror film–and so it incorporates many of the things he finds scary: aging, illness, death, loss, the relentlessness of time. They are horrifyin, I think, and more so because we don’t get to escape them. Some horror films are cathartic, I guess, because we can let ourselves be scared, but then pull back because, well, it’s unlikely that we’ll really run into any werewolves or ten-foot spiders. There’s some comfort in that. There’s not much comfort here. And yet.

And yet I think it might even be important. It shows the things you never see on billboards, but that you think about at night when you wash your face and then check for new wrinkles or gray hairs or check to see if any of your freckles have changed shape…or is that just me?

Anyway–crazy good acting. It reminds me of way back when, when I first became enamored with David Lynch. Eraserhead made such an impression on me because the setting and action were surreal, but somehow functioned like compressed reality, and evoked feelings that I have in real situations. This film does the same thing

I have yet to walk into a video store and say, “wow, Eraserhead. Haven’t seen that for awhile, maybe I’ll pop some popcorn and snuggle up with that.” And, again, Synecdoche might fall in the same group. I’m glad I saw it. I hope more people see it so we can discuss, but like other growth-provoking yet painful exercises, once might be enough.

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