I saw screenwriter Charlie Kauffman's directorial debut Synecdoche, New York this weekend. Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as regional theater director Caden Cotard (named no doubt for the psychological condition where people believe their bodies to dead and rotting), who uses his seemingly endless MacArthur genius grant to mount a brutally honest theatrical depiction of his own life so epic and realistic that it goes on for decades and requires him to build a full scale (1:1) replica of New York City in a warehouse. The gigantic cast (playing both the people in his life and the characters based on them) includes Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, Catherine Keener, Hope Davis, Dianne Wiest, Emily Watson and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The film is every bit the head trip you'd expect from the mad genius behind Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and even gives The Science of Sleep (which was made by his former collaborator Michale Gondry) a run for its money in the annals of film surrealism. Thorughout the picture Kauffman uses the lens of absurdity to magnify the awful and embarrassing mundanity of life in a way that is both surprisingly compelling and deeply affecting. I look forward to seeing it again.