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The Genius of Synecdoche, New York

The always incisive Your Movie Sucks is posting an in-depth look at Charlie Kaufman's movie Synecdoche, New York. This film, for me, packed more emotional wallop than any I've seen, and does it just beautifully and symbolically and allegorically and subtly and confusingly and.....well, you get my point.

I think it a sublime and very meaningful film, as did the inimitable Roger Ebert:

This is a film with the richness of great fiction [...] it's not that you have to return to understand it. It's that you have to return to realize how fine it really is. The surface may daunt you. The depths enfold you. The whole reveals itself, and then you may return to it like a talisman.

He continues:

Here is how it happens. We find something we want to do, if we are lucky, or something we need to do, if we are like most people. We use it as a way to obtain food, shelter, clothing, mates, comfort, a first folio of Shakespeare, model airplanes, American Girl dolls, a handful of rice, sex, solitude, a trip to Venice, Nikes, drinking water, plastic surgery, child care, dogs, medicine, education, cars, spiritual solace -- whatever we think we need. To do this, we enact the role we call "me," trying to brand ourselves as a person who can and should obtain these things.

In the process, we place the people in our lives into compartments and define how they should behave to our advantage. Because we cannot force them to follow our desires, we deal with projections of them created in our minds. But they will be contrary and have wills of their own. Eventually new projections of us are dealing with new projections of them. Sometimes versions of ourselves disagree.

It's a challenging movie, to be sure, and you will need to watch it two or three or four times to absorb what it is, what it's exploring, but that should not deter you; like a great novel or symphony or any substantial, layered, nuanced creative work (or even people), you need to live with it for a while before you will really understand what it's saying, what it has to offer.

Once you've watched it at least twice, enjoy YMS's fantastic critical commentary on the film:

 

Part two is here, and part three is here. I eagerly await part four.