Sunday, December 14, 2008

Soundtrack & Film Recommendation:

"I know how to do it now. There are nearly thirteen million people in the world. None of those people is an extra. They're all the leads of their own stories. They have to be given their due. "

Charlie Kaufman is one of my favorite screenwriters. He's constantly trying to create something original while maintaining an honest and insightful look at the human emotion. Synecdoche, NY, which is the first film he's both writer and director for, is Kaufman at his most abstract and at the same time ambitiously brilliant. In Adaptation, he wrote himself into the screenplay, illustrating his struggle to write a movie simply about flowers. If this seemed a bit meta then Synecdoche, NY is this times a hundred. The film is about playwright Caden Cotard, a lonely man with strange health problems who is masterfully played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, struggling to do something in his life so he decides to recreate a ginormous theater piece of New York. While doing this he's trying to maintain relationships with loved ones and at the same time implement their stories into his piece. This creates a conflict in Caden that is both heartbreaking and darkly humorous. The movie starts off normal and gets bizarre pretty fast. It's something that I find much more enjoyable if you don't try to make sense of everything because some things in it just aren't suppose to make sense. Such is life. They are just there.

By the time the credits roll there's a strange overwhelming feeling that I got. I didn't really know what to think or to say. Everyone in the theater sat in silence, trying to comprehend or make sense of it all. It's something that probably drove a lot of people angry, hating the film, but it gave me the feeling of something special. A masterpiece perhaps. Also, it seems to be one of those movies where in repeated viewings you find out more and more new things. I've seen it twice, but there still seems like a lot of little details that I've missed.

Anyways, the score of the movie was done by Jon Brion and the quality of it is no less than other past work he's done: Hard Eight, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, Aimee Man, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, etc. Light piano and mesmerizing string arrangements. The soundtrack provides a great sense of pondering, self-exploration. It captures the essence of the film perfectly. The standout song of the film "Little Person", sung by a jazz vocalist Deanne Storey depicts the story of everyday people in life. How there are no extras, we are all just leads in our own story, trying to find a connection, whatever that may be.

[Synecdoche, NY Webpage]

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