The third film in the Asheville Film Society’s tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman,Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York may possibly be the most audacious directorial debut since Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941). It’s certainly on the very short list of great debut films. It also contains one of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s most incredible — and incredibly layered — performances. He spans decades, continents, and in some ways, identities in the course of the film It’s a richly complex work that got a bad break locally by coming at the height of the Christmas and awards season in 2008. My original review — based on a single viewing was inadequate — appeared on Dec. 17. By Dec. 19, the movie was gone, and would have been gone regardless, since there simply was no room for it on local screens. This was one of the reasons the Asheville Film Society screened the film a few years ago — to offer moviegoers who missed it on its brief original run a shot at seeing it in theatrical form, which it fully deserves. Even having seen the film several times now, I still feel little more equipped than I was in 2008 to make claims to anything even remotely like a complete “mastery” of it. To this end, I direct readers to my original review here
The Asheville Film Society will screen Synecdoche, New York Tuesday, March 18, at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.