For his first feature as director, Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman was selected for the Festival de Cannes Competition in the running for the Palme d'Or, but he is also eligible for the Caméra d’Or. He came to the Croisette once before, with Michel Gondry's film Human Nature (2001), on which he was the screenwriter.
Synecdoche, New York is another example of his eccentric and playful vision, a systematic mise en abîme of the life of theater director Caden, anti-hero and directorial alter ego pal. Abandoned by his wife, Caden is mulling over his unhappiness and despair. But then he moves his theater company to a warehouse in New York City for a gigantic artistic enterprise: he imagines a celebration of the mundane, in which each actor must construct an artificial life for himself in a setting imitating the city outside.
"I'm interested in dreams," Kaufman confided, "and the way we tell ourselves stories in a dream. Let me make it clear that this film isn't a dream, but it does have a dreamlike logic. In a dream, you may start to fly and it doesn't seem unusual to you. Your reaction is not at all like the one you'd have if you were awake in the normal world. You have to accept everything that happens in the film the way it comes. Of course it's something that wouldn't happen in real life – we're in a film!"