Thursday, May 7, 2009

May 7, 2009 - It's Odd Day

Yes, It's Odd Day. I'm sure you've all heard of it. No? Neither had I but I guess it's pretty rare. Three consecutive odd numbers (5/7/9) make up the date only six times in a century. The last was 1/3/1905 (1/3/5). has the scoop. Do something odd to celebrate. It's not hard. I'm sure you already do plenty of odd things. Just ask those who circulate around you. I'm sure they'll find something odd you do. I have yet to decide my oddity of the day. I'll let you know.

My version of a film review: Just finished watching "Synecdoche, New York." It is the directorial debut from Charlie Kaufman and stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener. I believe the title is a play on the word Schenectady, perhaps it's a reference to the new, yet very skewed world that the title character creates for his fictional theater production within the film. This will no doubt bring back the feelings one had when watching "Being John Malchovich." One of bemused confusion. Is this a dream? Will he wake up? When will it stop? Ultimately I couldn't stop watching. One feels in a state of always missing something and the need to watch that scene again. There's some big message in here somewhere.

The story revolves around Caden (it sounded like Caton to me) Cotard, a theater director whose wife and daughter leave him, much to his dismay and confusion. Caden's health takes a turn for the bizarre and he receives a "McArthur" genius grant which seemingly gives him untold resources for a creative project of his choice. He decides to stage a massive theater project that tells stories about every aspect of life. The breadth of the project continues to expand as Caden moves into massive warehouses with hundreds of actors and elaborate sets that go on for miles and for years. In fact for the rest of his life. By the end he has created the entire city of New York under massive glass domed structures. The production gets so big that he hires a series of actors to play himself, his assistants, wife and lovers who all interact with him day and night. Ultimately he has the ability to direct his own actions by directing his surrogates who in turn direct him and toward the end he gives up his life entirely to his surrogates direction.

One of my favorite scenes is when one of his soon-to-be lovers is looking at a house to purchase with a real estate agent. The house is on fire and this is taken into account by the prospective buyer. She says, "I love the house but I'm worried about the fire taking my life." In subsequent scenes this home, throughout the film and over many years, remains on fire. And no one ever comments on this. An example of the dreamlike atmosphere of the entire film but this is one of the few scenes I found comical.

Perhaps I've said too much but really it might actually help knowing what you're getting into on this one. Some will find it tedious and at times unbearable. I don't know that it's a "love it" or "hate it" kind of film. More like "tolerate it" or "hate it." I don't have the stamina to actually watch it twice but I might take a look at the Special Features and commentaries on the DVD. I recommend it with reservations and yet it is oddly compelling. A perfect movie for viewing on Odd Day. It may spur some thought and some interesting discussions. m

No comments: