Synecdoche, New York- Blurred lines between fiction and reality

Charlie Kauffman’s film Synecdoche New York focuses around the main character Caden Cotard who wins an art prize leaving him with what appears to be an endless amount of money. He sets up a fake New York and hires real New Yorkers to become him and the important people in his life. More and more characters are added to the New York set and eventually the lines of real and fictitious become blurred and his life starts to be told through peculiar scenes where time and space become transcendent. One of my favourite quotes in the film is “a man defines himself by his make believe as well as his sincere impulses” [1]. We create fiction in our own lives, we tell ourselves stories of what has happened to us in order to process our everyday surroundings. We sometimes share these stories with other through creating a narrative out of our encounters, but we also create fictitious stories for ourselves, narratives that haven’t happened or have yet to. These narratives are a fundamental part of who we, we explore our biggest dreams and worse nightmares through it. By putting this into a physical stage Kauffman addresses that no person is an extra “there are nearly thirteen million people in the world… They’re all the leads of their own stories” [1]. Does the assembly of actors playing a character playing a character allow for a line of fiction to be drawn or is the person always real because it can be traced back to a individual?


Synecdoche, New York, 01:15 10/03/2016, FilmFour, 150 mins. (Accessed 20 Sep 2017)

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