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It’s not uncommon for audiences to be baffled by a movie plot, but many at the Cinema Society and Mulberry’s viewing of “Synecdoche, New York” on Wednesday had trouble just with the film’s title — a play on words between an esoteric literary device and a small town in upstate New York of almost the same name.

Michelle Williams, who co-stars with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hope Davis and Catherine Keener, copped to having been one of the puzzled. “They had it spelled phonetically in the office and I’d stare at it: suh-nec-do-kee, suh-nec-do-kee,” said the actress. “Once you learn it, all you want to do is use it in a sentence.”

This story first appeared in the October 20, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

But writer and director Charlie Kaufman didn’t understand what the hubbub was about. “We don’t say the word once in the movie,” he said. “And all people have to do is look it up.”

Instead of running home to consult a dictionary after the credits rolled, revelers headed over to the Gramercy Park Hotel, where Michael Pitt, Michael Stipe, new “Project Runway” winner Leanne Marshall and outspoken John McCain supporter Jon Voight (wearing an oversize American flag pin) caught the tail end of the presidential debate while Williams snuggled with new squeeze Spike Jonze.

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