FIRST LOOK

New Photos From Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York

by
May 11, 2008
Source: Rope of Silicon, Variety

New Photos From Synecdoche, New York

We have only ever mentioned Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York once before - and that was to introduce one of the first photos from the film. Now we have a few more new photos and it's worth mentioning again. The film is premiering at the Cannes Film Festival this month and has slowly been building buzz. Kaufman is an Oscar winning screenwriter who is making his directorial debut with Synecdoche. The concept is just as wacky of any of his previous fares, like Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but has the potential to yet again be something much more grand.

Anne Thompson of Variety recently caught up with Kaufman and interviewed him on the Cannes debut and his experiences as a first-time director, long-time screenwriter. Courtesy of her article, we have the best plot synopsis for Synecdoche, New York yet.

In the project, a theater director in Schenectady (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is left by his artist wife (Catherine Keener), who is not impressed with his work. She disappears for years with his young daughter. In an effort to prove himself, the director mounts an ambitious replica of New York City in a warehouse and populates it with actors who live there "to replicate the truth as he sees it," says Kaufman.

The production gets larger and larger and continues for 40 years, through the director's relationships with various women, and blurs his sense of reality. "It's emotional and funny in some places and sad in other places," says Kaufman. "Hopefully it's thought-provoking."

With that, let's take a look at three new photos courtesy of Cannes.

Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York

In the second and third photos, you can actually see the New York City replica in the warehouse in the background. I'm not really sure why, but seeing these photos really sparks my interest in this quite a bit. I guess it has something to do with my belief that maybe this could be this year's There Will Be Blood, but with obviously a much different story and feel. The entire film has such a grand and quirky sense to it that I'm wondering if this is one of those independent gems that is going to become an instant classic. Only time will tell. I know I'll be anxiously watching for any reactions from Cannes once the film starts screening.

Shot by "Blue Velvet's" Frederick Elmes and designed by Mark Friedberg, who collaborated on the hallucinatory sets for "Across the Universe," "Synecdoche" was a challenging first project. "We had 204 scenes to shoot in 45 days," says Kaufman, who managed to squeeze the film into two hours. "It was a terrible experience: exciting, tedious, long, and short." Finally, he says he'd gladly do it again.

You can bet your ass we'll be following this film closely as it debuts at Cannes and (hopefully) is bought by a distributor. The film was shot for a mere $15 million, which is right in the perfect range for indie distributors like Fox Searchlight and Paramount Vantage to pick up and capitalize on. It's time to finally see whether Charlie Kaufman is as good of a director as he is a screenwriter.

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  • Mike
    Maybe it's just me, but I'm extremely excited for this movie. I loved Being John Malkovich, it's one of my all time favorites. The strangeness of the plots that Kaufman works with is incredible. It's amazing to see how well they come out on film. This one looks just as out there as Malkovich.
  • Nick O.
    This movie is going to be amazing.
  • Bob
    plot reminds me of the book "Remainder." Pretty wacky story.. movie looks interesting.
  • Djo.
    Charlie Kaufman has made, to date, one of my favorite films EVER. Adaptation gets its rightful place right next to 2001:A Space Odyssey, simply for having the BALLS to include a sequence that covers the entire history of life on earth, culminating in the birth of the Author. I expect nothing less from this, and am glad to see phillip seymore hoffman on board (although I cringe whenever i think what on earth his parents were thinking when they named him. ) I will absolutely see this movie, and be inspired by it. 'Cause this man's mind ROCKS.
  • Can't wait.
  • Cool review and I'm thrilled to see I'm not the only one who thinks this plot sounds like a direct riff on the existentialist fiction Remainder.

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