Watch: Interpreting 'Synedoche, New York' With Amy Nicholson (Part 1)

The recent, tragic passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman prompted me to look back at some of his most memorable work. One of his films that I've always wanted to delve more deeply into is Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman's meditation on mortality and creativity. While I admired much about what the film is trying to do and say – and Hoffman is tremendous in it – I found that even after repeated viewings, many of the film's meanings and themes eluded me (despite already having recorded a lengthy podcast episode on the topic 4 years ago). I was fortunate to team up with someone way more knowledgeable than me to create a video essay about Synecdoche: Amy Nicholson from LA Weekly and the Village Voice podcast.

In the below video essay, Amy and I discuss the meaning of certain elements in the film, such as the burning house, Caden's ailing health, Violet's poisonous tattoos, and the fluidity of time. We chatted for so long that I had to break our conversation up into two separate parts, making this part 1 of a 2-part video essay (part 2 will come next week). Check it out after the jump.