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Figuring the global: on Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>New Review of Film and Television Studies
Issue number4
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)321-338
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/07/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


What might film have to say about global space? This, in essence, is the question which this paper addresses, in relation to Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York (2008). I argue that the protagonist's theatre project in the film can be read in relation to prominent conceptions of global space (which relate in particular to telecommunications systems, multinational capitalism, and the urban environment) and the implications these have for subjectivity. Rather than merely representing the global system, however, Synecdoche, New York suggests a novel way in which we might think about this, and it will be one of the aims of this discussion to uncover this. In terms of the film's form, I read this in relation to Gilles Deleuze's notion of the time-image. There is a disjointed flow of time in Synecdoche, New York, I claim, and this forms not only a link with Deleuze's writings on the cinema, but also suggests a counterpoint to the form of space outlined above. I will end by providing a further reading of the time-image, which serves to link this form back to global space, and the contemporary cultural and political situation.