Charlie Kaufman - Cinematographic Hallucinations



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Charlie Kaufman is a screenwriter and, as many people describe, a brilliant and troubled mind. He assigned many polemic movies for the Hollywood cinema patterns and impress the public with his cinematographic hallucinations. The fact is that analyzing him is a painful task, as we take a serious risk of diminishing him, as much as his work, which can be interpreted on endless ways.

A very important and remarkable general aspect, which allowed Kaufman to get a respectable space at the American productions, is the talent of getting us puzzled with a movie that, on a first glance, seemed impossible to be interpreted, but, with an analytical look, we can perceive a certain kind of philosophy, autobiography and anthropophagy. Thus, because of parallel reasons, I'll put here a kind of look, maybe a superficial one, of two very important movies: Being John Malkovich and Synecdoche, NY.

Being John Malkovich (1999) was nominated to the Academy Award's Best Screenplay, Direction and Actress in a Supporting Role. Analyzing the whole movie, we perceive as it carries the will of the nowadays man on being another one, what, anthropophagily speaking, is the will of othering - as Fernando Pessoa did. It means being in the place of some else's life and absolve him with no prejudices. This movie shows this will clearly when two characters find a black hole which ends inside the body of John Malkovich, played by the own actor. The characters perceive that being inside someone famous and rich is a funny and delicious game, and then start to charge tickets to other characters visit the life of the actor.

The most interesting part of all this stuff is the vice that this othering activity causes on the characters of the movie. Daring a lot, I can make a parallel with the contemporary times, when we fit, modify, mix and abduct all kinds of concepts, but in an extremely anthropophagic way, cravingly wanting to leave the own body and experimenting in an hallucinating frequency something new, getting goosebumps.

On Synecdoche, NY (2008), transformation is the most evident will. The main character sublimates his familiar problems aiming to make something important in life before dying. As in a simulacrum (see the mimesis concept created by Plato), the main character, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, creates a theatrical play which concerns about a theatrical play which, by its turn, concerns about the life of the director of theatrical play. Then, this movie seems an indefatigable construction of itself through a metalinguistic structure, exhaling a wish for a self-knowledge search and self-satisfaction, walking on endless circles.

Synecdoche, NY is, with no doubts, one of most difficult movies for watching and analyzing, but also a cinematographic discover with no limits of interpretations and no limits of feelings.

Besides those movies, I also recommend Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), winner of the Academy Award's Best Original Screenplay, Adaptation (2002), nominated to the Academy Award's Best Adapted Screenplay.

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