Monday, 23 April 2012

Synecdoche & Others

Synecdoche New York is one of the most confusing films I have watched in a while but also one of the most interesting. Okay so I’m going to attempt a description of this film…wish me luck. Now after watching the film I was intrigued and confudled as I sat there scratching my head I pondered on what I had watched. As the film I didn’t really offer any answers I did some research. What I found out from my research was this film is based around multiple brain disorders. For example it is no coincidence that the main character is called Caden Cotard.  Cotard syndrome is also know as walking dead syndrome and is a neuropsychiatric disorder which a person thinks they are dead and they can believe they are rotting like a corpse. Caden doesn’t believe that he’s dead but he referrers to death multiple times and you do see him age throughout the film.

So the film follows the life of Caden Cotard a play writer and it starts out with a small production he was managing. He lives a normal life with his wife and kid, his wife Adele is a painter and works on small canvas’. Soon Caden is diagnosed with some disease and problems in his relationship arise. Ultimately his wife leaves him to go to Germany and follow her career as a painter. Shortly after he gets a MacArther Grant because of the success of his small production and he sets out to really do something with his life and so buys an old stadium. His dream is to create a brutally honest play about everyday life that would encompass even his own. As he starts this production he builds sets, then rooms, then buildings and ends up with a scale model of New York itself. He developed a love interest in a woman manning the box office only for it to end badly and as years go past he marries one of the actresses in his play, has a baby…etc. Years fly past and without realising when he is questioned why they haven’t got an audience in and it’s been 17 years.
Caden hires a man named Sam that has stalked him for 20 years and knows his character and is able to reflect Caden better than he ever could, this would lead to his death. Caden is then forced to hire someone else, a woman this time, she was cast as Ellen, a cleaner for his wife. She is recast as Caden and is almost the opposite but perfect for the role, hard to explain but watch it and you’ll understand. The end of the film Caden takes over Ellens life and she directs him about his fake world, instructing his words, his actions and even his death.

So this film is referred to as a mise en abyme, this is a term referred to an infinite never-ending loop in the sense of two mirrors looking at each other. So Caden builds
New York inside a stadium and in that he also builds a life size model of the stadium and so on so forth. Mise en abyme is also used in Inception as well. Interesting fact if it is a picture then it’s called the Droste effect an image in an image and so on, and also within math it is called self-similarity. The fun you have when researching.

It’s a little bit of a mind fuck but a highly enjoyable film. Me trying to explain it does no justice and you will just have to sit down and watch it. Other films I have watched recently are;

Lars and the Real Girl – About a guy who has trouble talking to people especially girls and he buys himself a sex doll as he believes she is real. A doctor does some tests and finds out he actually feels pain through the touch of human beings, he is compensating for all the things he can’t do with this doll. It shows the coming together of a community and as his relationships grow with real people his need for the sex doll diminishes. Quite a touching film and he doesn’t have sex with her, I know what you are all thinking.

The Social Network - The biggest pile of crap about the guy who created Facebook. It basically shows how nerdy and smart this guy is but also highlights the fact that he is a pretentious prick. I wasted 2 hours phasing in and out of this drone of a film to be rewarded with text at the end saying he is the youngest billionaire in the world. Basic plot outline - how he created facebook and the lawsuits he was up against for doing so, the opening of the film is probably one of the weakest I’ve even seen. As he and his girlfriend regale a complicated line of words to an even more complicated relationship with one another. In reality it lasted around 10 minutes yet in my mind I shot myself 11 hundred times waiting for it to end. If this film is an actuate representation of him I never want to meet him. If it sounds like I’m purposely slating it, it’s because I am.

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