Spencer Clarke Sound

Engineer and Editor, for Music and Post

300 Words in Support of "Synecdoche, NY"

I don’t know why I make it so complicated.”
“Because that’s what you do.
— Synecdoche, NY

My favorite films are those that I can return to time after time and still make new observations. Charlie Kaufman‘s “Synecdoche, NY” is one of those cerebral films. The most impressive part about this film is the director’s apparent attention to detail. As I watch the film over and over again, I understand why Kaufman both wrote and directed it. Nobody else would have done justice to the story.

The film follows a chronically diseased theater director who uses his MacArthur genius grant to create a play that delves deep into life and death and the day-to-day of human existence. The “play” itself is the essence of what makes this film the experience that it is, and where Kaufman really gets to show off the depth of his story. As Caden Cotard the genius director says,“We’re all hurtling towards death, yet here we are for the moment, alive, each of us knowing that we will die, but secretly hoping we won’t.” The play starts out exploring death and our fear of death, but as the layers are piled on, and actors are hired to play people in real life, it becomes hard to distinguish reality from the constructed world of the play, and the construction starts to degrade until Caden is called to act in his own play.

Kaufman’s attention to detail is what really makes this film shine, and it’s unfortunate that many examples would give away crucial pieces of the story. Inside the warehouses, a small section of the film score is looped over the loudspeakers. At one point, Hazel says “The end is built into the beginning.” In the film, the time of day is the same at the beginning and the end.