Cannes: Three Scenes From Synecdoche, New York

Nice find over at Slashfilm. The Cannes Film Festival website has released three clips from Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche , New York,” one of the most highly anticpated films of the entire festival (it screens for the public at the Croisette this Friday). There’s a lot of it in tone that is reminiscent of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” especially the scene with Phillip Seymour Hoffman at the doctor’s office. You can also hear the familiar strains of Jon Brion’s score which sounds like it’s also somewhat similar in its use of bouncy and whimsical strings. The one scene with Michelle Williams references the tattoo’s that tattoo artist Tim Kern talked to Premiere about (apparently there’s some sort of motif in the film around skin art).

The film screened early on Saturday at Cannes to prospective buyers and Variety’s Anne Thompson said that those who have seen it called it “ambitious, arty and brilliant, if not entirely accessible.”

In the movie Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays theater director Caden Cotard whose life in Schenectady, New York is depressing. His wife Adele (Catherine Keener) has left him to pursue her painting in Berlin, taking their young daughter Olive (Sadie Goldstein) with her and his new relationship with the alluringly candid Hazel (Samantha Morton) has prematurely run to a halt. And a mysterious condition is systematically shutting down each of his body’s autonomic functions and worried about the transience of his life, he moves his theater company to a warehouse in New York City. Hoffman directs them in a celebration of the mundane, instructing each to live out their constructed lives in an amibtious life-size mock-up of New York. The film also co-stars the aforementioned Michelle Williams and Tilda Swinton.

Director/writer Charlie Kaufman talked to the Hollywood Reporter over the weekend about the film and he said it was originally conceived as a horror film and then morphed into a film about life’s fears, aging and anxiety. “I’s about the experience of going through life, and heading toward the end of it. The movie follows this character for 40 years, and it’s about people’s losses and death and fear of death and intimacy and relationships. Romance and regret and struggle and ego and jealousy and confusion and loneliness and sex and loss — all those things are in the movie. I wanted it to be an all-inclusive experience of a person’s life. It’s this guy’s world…”

He also said it was meant to be surrealist and not always clear what was going on. “I was interested in not explaining things, having them just be poetic.”