Saturday, August 01, 2009

Exactitude in Science/Synedoche, New York

Yesterday I watched Synecdoche, New York for the first time. Today, I shall watch it again. (Trailer is here.)

Of Exactitude in Science

...In that Empire, the craft of Cartography attained such Perfection that the Map of a Single province covered the space of an entire City, and the Map of the Empire itself an entire Province. In the course of Time, these Extensive maps were found somehow wanting, and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point for point. Less attentive to the Study of Cartography, succeeding Generations came to judge a map of such Magnitude cumbersome, and, not without Irreverence, they abandoned it to the Rigours of sun and Rain. In the western Deserts, tattered Fragments of the Map are still to be found, Sheltering an occasional Beast or beggar; in the whole Nation, no other relic is left of the Discipline of Geography.

From Travels of Praiseworthy Men (1658) by J. A. Suarez Miranda

-- by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares. English translation quoted from J. L. Borges, A Universal History of Infamy, Penguin Books, London, 1975.

This, in reference to Manohla Dargis' stunning review of Synedoche, New York, the Charlie Kaufman film.

One of the great joys of the ten and a half hour Virgin flight from Heathrow to LAX is the extensive entertainment system with scores of movies to choose from.

I won't sound like a complete ninny extolling the genius of Charlie Kaufman, but if you haven't, watch this movie immediately (available for rental on iTunes $3.99). Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Catherine Keener, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan, Emily Watson, Diane Wiest star. Heartbreakingly brilliant score by Jon Brion. Possibly the most ambitious movie I've ever seen (although Anthony Lane would suggest you try Citizen Kane).

Oh, and Baudrillard, who has cool things to say about Disneyland, features too.

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