The Piecemeal Man (abmann) wrote,
The Piecemeal Man

Three awesome things

Cranes in Fog
Originally uploaded by ABMann
    A few awesome things:
  1. I'm down three pounds in a week and a half (currently weighing 188). This includes Thanksgiving where I actually ate like a reasonable human, rather than a starved grizzly.
  2. Synecdoche, New York may be one of the best movies I have ever seen. Were I to summarize in a word, and I was considering what word for a while, I believe "preposterous" is pretty good - in the "outrageous" and "silly" meanings of the word. I'm not saying it is absurd, though it is, but not in a laughable way, though I did laugh frequently; it is an audacious cerebral orgasm and I absolutely need to see it again soon so I can understand it better.
  3. Photo:
    Fog + Cross processing = awesome.
"Synecdoche" is a literary term for using an aspect of the whole to represent it - "suits" to mean lawyers or "wheels" to mean a car. Rather than ramble on and potentially spoil the movie for anyone, I want to point out that the opposite is also true in the definition, a synecdoche can also use a whole to represent a part - "court" to refer to a judge. I think this less oft used inversion is just as important in the movie's momentum, especially the denouement and conclusion

Lastly, my LJ client's dictionary doesn't know how to spell "synecdoche." No, I don't mean Schenectady, New York... not that you know how to spell that either.

I think the inverted definition of synecdoche is as important as the standard definition. The movie rotates through the definitions. At first, Hoffman's life is representative of the whole of life: mundane, prosaic. One could argue that he is a whole representing the part, us in this case as humans and families.

As the movie progresses he becomes splintered into his own play and this becomes a part representing the whole of his play which is, in itself, a part representing the whole of New York. The more and more abstract it becomes, as the lines blur between the play and reality, Hoffman's character becomes whole as he incorporates more of the story into his life and vice-versa.

By the end he has absorbed the world, both his and the real one because the lines between the two no longer exist. He dies as the world ceases to be.

And stuff. gosh, there's just so much more in there.

The movie feels like the logical conclusion to many of Charlie Kaufman's works - Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you marry the major themes from all these movies, you create Synecdoche, New York.

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