SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK
2008, Sony Pictures Classics, 124 min, USA, Dir: Charlie Kaufman

After his wife leaves him, theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) decides to stage his most ambitious piece, a production that will encompass his entire life. Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ADAPTATION), here directing for the first time, uses Caden and the world he creates (which consists of a replica of New York built in a warehouse) to explore the vastness of human experience in all its emotional and intellectual complexity. The result: what Roger Ebert called the best film of its decade. With a stellar supporting cast that includes Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Hope Davis and Jennifer Jason Leigh.


EXISTENZ
1999, Park Circus/MGM, 97 min, USA, Dir: David Cronenberg

When leading game designer Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is attacked by an assassin while conducting a focus group for her new virtual-reality game eXistenZ, she escapes into the game with marketing trainee Ted Pikul (Jude Law). Cronenberg is at his squirm-inducing, orifice-fetishizing best here, with great supporting turns from Ian Holm, Willem Dafoe and Sarah Polley.


FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH
1982, Universal, 92 min, USA, Dir: Amy Heckerling

A raunchy and painfully funny look at Southern California high school students by director Amy Heckerling (CLUELESS). Writer Cameron Crowe (ALMOST FAMOUS) adapts his own semi-autobiographical book as an unexpected launching pad for three future Academy Award winners: Forest Whitaker, Nicolas Cage, and Sean Penn (in a career-making turn as pothead surfer, Jeff Spicoli). Also starring Jennifer Jason Leigh in her first major role, as a vulnerable teenager anxious about losing her virginity. A truly iconic film from the hilarious rogues’ gallery of regular guys (Judge Reinhold), teen-queens (Phoebe Cates), hustlers (Robert Romanus) and stoners. Also featuring Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards, the original Sherman Oaks Galleria (where the species known as The Valley Girl was born), Santa Monica Place and the immortal Ray Walston as Mr. Hand. Classic soundtrack music by Tom Petty, Joe Walsh, The Cars, Led Zeppelin and more.


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