People freak their shit out about directors like Terrence Malick or Wes Anderson and I’ve never really understood that. Their movies are good, sure. But enough to get all rabid and crazy about them? It does not compute.
I’m finding that the type of filmmaker I fawn over is someone who can create a weird story, whose writing I experience, process, and it (somehow) goes beyond jealous wishing I made it into aggressive respect. It’s the type of appreciation where I just want to sit with that person and ask them questions and hope that they will pet my face and go, “You’ll get there one day. You have it in you.” I get that way about Charlie Kaufman. I can tell you where I was when I saw every one of his movies and—while I have yet to realize my own narrative absurdity—he is the type of creative who I watch with lust, dreaming that I could achieve something similar.
Anyway, this is all to say that I am very excited about his new movie Anomalisa. The film is the long awaited follow up to his divisive to many, beautiful and perfect to me, directorial debut Synecdoche, New York. Like all of his movies, this new film is about a lonely man with a boring life who is caught in self-reflection and given a purpose thanks to love or a deeper understanding of the self (and, really, it’s both the love and the self that yield the purpose). Everything is loosely autobiographical with Kaufman and everything is a knotted in neurosis and self-deprecating mania. Sometimes that manifests itself as wanting to physically enter a famous movie star while other times that means indulging in the fantasy of real life and wanted life.
The trailer for the film was just released and it looks awesome. Why? It’s a Kaufman film (Duh.) but it’s also a stop motion animated feature co-directed with Duke Johnson. The film falls into Kaufman’s lonely man aesthetic but this time it goes beyond the dream of life into the dream of toyed reality by way of puppets. The visuals look nice but what’s even more remarkable is that it apparently only features the vocal talents of three actors. I do not doubt that this will work and, yes, I am aware that a lot of this sounds painfully schticky and a lot of you have checked out that this point.
I full embrace Kaufman’s oddity and absurdity. It’s magical to me and it makes me tingle with inspiration.