|Screening Room Jan/Feb - Page 4|
As Kaufman sees it, we're all alone, endlessly rehearsing new versions of "reality." None of us has a single, authentic self to be excavated and advertised to attract the world's attention. We endlessly keep trying out scenarios that interest mainly ourselves. While we might like to imagine that some collective, all-seeing consciousness somewhere looks on, admiring our efforts, grading our performance, in fact, nobody's watching—except us.
With my lifelong fondness for the Hollywood dream machine and its ability to glamorize and mythologize everyday human experience, I must admit that I squirmed through much of Kaufman's ingenious, if remarkably deflating, film: it cut too close to the bone. In its refusal to turn away from the petty details of life, and in the relentless pleasure it takes in pointing out the excesses of human self-delusion and vanity, it revealed too much that's embarrassing about my own everyday reveries. Leaving the theater, I found myself longing for Clint Eastwood to come to my rescue and tell me a story about heroism.
Frank Pittman, M.D., is a contributing editor to the Psychotherapy Networker and is in private practice. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters to the Editor about this department can be e-mailed to email@example.com.