Friday July 19, 2019

Revisiting Synecdoche New York, a bewildering masterpiece that should come out of shadows

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kaufmanBy Atul Mishra

“What was once before you – an exciting, mysterious future – is now behind you. Lived; understood; disappointing. You realize you are not special. You have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. This is everyone’s experience. Every single one. The specifics hardly matter.”

Life, death, love, creativity, identity, frustration, forgiveness and regret, are a few epistemologies that are battled everyday in the ennui of human existence. These all are explored at a gigantic scale in Synecdoche, New York, a 2008 American postmodern drama film written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. It was Kaufman’s directorial debut. The Oscar-winning screenwriter Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) nails the very essence of existence of every human being.

The plot follows an ailing theatre director (Hoffman) as he works on an increasingly elaborate stage production whose extreme commitment to realism begins to blur the boundaries between fiction and reality. Life is too bleak for theater director Caden Cotard (Hoffman). His wife and daughter have left him, his therapist is more interested in plugging her new book than helping him with his problems, and a strange disease is causing his body to shut down. Caden leaves his home in Schenectady, New York, and heads to New York City, where he gathers a cast of actors and tells them to live their lives within the constructs of a mock-up of the city.

photo credit: screenrobot.com
photo credit: screenrobot.com

Caden builds a replica of New York in a colossal warehouse, where his players perform their scenes behind closed doors. This leads on to plays within plays and blurred lines between fiction and reality, and to push it further out there, Kaufman plays with time, speeding up its passage as the decades roll away and Hoffman becomes more decrepit and lost. The narrative leapfrogs ahead in sudden fast-forward leaps. Caden’s kid is four – no, wait, she’s 11, living in Berlin with her mother and dissolute lover – no, hang on, she’s in her 30s, tattooed, messed up, working in some porn-booth. Before you know it, she’s on her deathbed, angrily accusing a decrepit Caden of abuse.

photo credit: screenrobot.com
photo credit: screenrobot.com

It is as much a cry from the heart as it is an assertion of creative consciousness. It’s extravagantly conceptual but also tethered to the here and now. The key to understanding Synecdoche, NY is realizing that protagonist Caden Cotard (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is dead.  He has killed himself before the movie even starts. The first hint we get that Caden is dead comes immediately at the film’s open.  Over black, a child (presumably Caden’s daughter Olive) sings a simple rhyme written by Kaufman himself.  The lyrics are innocent enough at first:

There’s a place I long to be

A certain town that’s dear to me

Home to Mohawks and G.E.

It’s called Schenectady

I was born there and I’ll die there

My first home I hope to buy there

Have a kid or at least try there

Sweet Schenectady.

You get the sense that Kaufman feared he might never make another movie, and so crammed in every idea he’d ever wanted to explore. It’s at once epic and intimate, brilliant and scabrous. To quote Roger Ebert here and his appreciation of the film, “Here is how life is supposed to work,” Ebert wrote. “We come out of ourselves and unfold into the world. We try to realize our desires. We fold back into ourselves, and then we die.”

The plot of the movie is not the point.  Obviously, it’s the themes of mortality, love, and inaction that are important here.  And while the film is deeply and wholly depressing, it is not without its message.  Perhaps Caden wasted his life and things didn’t work out for him.  But that doesn’t have to be us. If you to go out, grab life by the balls, and make your own fate, this is a must watch.

If Charlie Kaufman never does anything again, this will stand as his cracked monument that shall eternally remain standing among the reels showing the hard hitting real life. And this film, not known to even many film buffs, should really be given its due. It’s Kaufman’s magnum opus that leaves you mesmerized and is a lifelong experience in itself.

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Factors to Consider When Hiring a Defense Attorney in New York City

If you can’t afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for you

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Hiring, Defense Attorney, New York
If you have a good income and you’re capable of hiring your own attorney, then you’re bound to be fine. Pixabay

It’s important for you to know that your income plays a major role when you seek legal representation. If you have a good income and you’re capable of hiring your own attorney, then you’re bound to be fine. However, if you can’t afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for you. The constitution guarantees you the right to be represented by a defense lawyer.

Before you hire a lawyer to represent you in the case, you need to discuss with that attorney about their billing structure, as the cost is one of the major factors to consider. When you explain your case to the lawyer, he/she can be able to determine the amount of money that the case will cost you. The following are other factors you need to consider when hiring a New York City criminal lawyer.

 

  • The skill of the lawyer

 

If the attorney you’re about to hire has much experience in cases such as yours, the attorney will charge you more for the legal services. In most cases, you’re advised to look for the most qualified attorney to present you in a case because you will have higher chances of winning the case.

Hiring, Defense Attorney, New York
It’s important for you to know that your income plays a major role when you seek legal representation. Pixabay

 

  • The seriousness of the case

 

If you have committed a serious offense, you need to hire a competent attorney to represent you. Serious cases such as rape, murder, and drug trafficking are taken very seriously in court, and if you’re found guilty, the penalties are very harsh. You can get a life sentence or face the hangman’s noose very easily. A New York City criminal lawyer who is capable of making you run away with murder will demand a higher cost than compared to petty crime such as trespass.

 

  • The complexity of legal issues in the case

 

When you have a case with complex issues that may require expert witnesses or private investigators, it will attract a higher cost to build a strong defense. For example, you want to raise the defense of legal sanity; you can hire a psychologist to prove that fact. Such experts require an average retainer of up to $300/hr, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Also Read- Google Remove Stalker Apps That were Available on its Play Store

 

  • Whether the attorney charges by the hour or a flat fee

 

Attorney charges are different. There is a defense lawyer who normally charges a flat rate, and you may find another who prefers to charge by the hour. You should consider your case, and if you find that your case will go to trial or take a long period of time before it’s determined, you should seek the services of an attorney who charge a flat rate. However, if you find that your case will not take a long time before it’s determined, you should go for the attorney who charges by the hour.

Conclusion 

You should always hire the most qualified defense attorney to take you through the court proceeding. The attorney has the experience and influence in a court of law because he/she understands the technicalities of the case before the court.