Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York ★★★★

I was more than familiar with Kaufman the screenwriter, but I never delved into the work of Kaufman the director, so I decided to watch this before taking a look at his newest release, I'm Thinking of Ending Things.

The "synecdoche" in the title may refer to the 1:1 replica of New York that the protagonist builds inside a warehouse too small to contain it, but it may also refer to the film's approach to time. As we experience the near-entirety of Caden Cotard's life, parts of it are magnified while others are impossibly condensed. Years go by in the span of a single beat, while memories resurface and repeat themselves, transfigured, to haunt Caden's present.

If I were to put a label on it, then this would be like the experience of a dying man, looking back on his life's memories and trying to conjure them in their entirety before it all slips away. But names and faces get mixed up, entire decades go missing, painful memories take centre stage. And the harder you try to grasp those memories, the more they get confused.

Trying to condense your entire life in those last moments is a futile exercise, much like building an entire city inside a warehouse.

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