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Charlie Kaufman on the Meaning Behind ‘Anomalisa’ at PSIFF: ‘See the film’

Charlie Kaufman on the Meaning Behind 'Anomalisa' at PSIFF: 'See the film'

Charlie Kaufman’s first venture into animation, co-directed by stop-motion wizard Duke Johnson, is the story of an alienated, married, mild-mannered, middle-aged customer-relations guru on a business trip to Cincinnati. Lonely, he calls an old girlfriend, but their reunion in the hotel bar is a disaster. Then he sets his eyes on Lisa, and his world is transformed… Sex too.

READ MORE: Human at the Seams: Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson Make Yearning Tangible in ‘Anomalisa’

And this all done by realistic looking puppets filmed stop-motion. Quite touching really. At this PSIFF (Palm Springs) I saw Kaufman questioned twice about ‘meaning’, his film etc and wonderfully each time he refused to answer any questions and simply said, ‘See the film.’ What a cool guy.
The film, made by the man who dreamed up “Being John Malkovich”, “Adaptation” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, takes the ordinary and twists it into wondrous, disturbing and haunting visions.

Though we are watching puppets, this is Kaufman’s most human, emotionally direct movie, one that will hit close to home to anyone who has ever spent a night in an anonymous hotel room in a strange city. And then met a romantic character….


Featuring brilliant voice work from David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan (who plays multiple parts), “Anomalisa” tells us uncomfortable truths about relationships, solipsism, work and the way we live (and love) now. It just may be a masterpiece.

READ MORE: Carlos Aguilar’s Best Films of 2015 (A Very Personal List)

“Anomalisa” won the Grand Jury Prize at Venice Film Festival, Best Fantastic Film and Best Director at Fantastic Fest, and it’s now nominated for a Golden Globe as  Best Animated Feature.

Paramount opened the film in limited released on December 30, 2015.

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