Never Too Late!

Never Too Late!
any resemblance to anyone real or imaginary is mere bad luck
we are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are trying to get up



I and some friends, we all go to see Synecdoche New York. I look it up afterwards, and apparently it was released early last year. It takes time to sub-title a convoluted epic like that into Portuguese.

As we wait for the film to start, I ask Mr Farewell- novelist and poker player of distinction - whether he ever hears voices. On or off drugs, he asks. I explain my conviction that - if you learn to hear it, if you learn to heed its voice, if you have the supreme courage to follow its lead, even when it leads to strange and insane places - you can trust the voice. It will always know. The voice of the deep mind, the voice of your daemon, in the ancient Greek sense, the voice of your holy guardian angel.

Synecdoche New York is a bizarre, sprawling, complicated film, one of those meta-narratives about a theatre production that flips and turns inside-out and swallows all the actors' lives and swallows the film you are watching and swallows New York City. It takes us about an hour afterwards to decide whether we even liked it or not, but walking out of the cinema, it is clear that this is no ordinary production. The dazed looks on the faces of the people walking out say everything. It is a long time since I saw a film that startled me so, that gave so much to wonder at and think about, even if it dragged at points.

Towards the end, after theatre director Caden has replaced himself with someone playing him, both in the theatre piece that has been growing and developing for 17 years now and in real life, now indistinguishable, and the set in its ridiculously enormous warehouse has expanded to encompass much of NYC, and the actor playing the director replaces the director and - I shouldn't be trying to explain -

and the new director gives Caden an earpiece, through which he hears...

yes, a little voice in his head. "Wake up now" it tells him. "Spend about 10 minutes staring melancholically at the view out of the window, and then yawn, get up and stretch..." And so on and on, irrevocably, until the final scene and the final instruction: "Now die."

We walk out of the cinema, walk down Consolação, and stumble across a new building site, some grandiose parking scheme. It is eerily like the film poster, the absurdly huge theatre set that houses a city, with its dirigible flying around inside.

Sometimes real life puts the final unforgettable details on artistic experience...