Independent movies of the Sundance stripe have become their own genre: small human dramas that can touch art-house hearts but don’t often expand the boundaries of cinema. Ambition is what most indie films lack, and what the directorial debut of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) has, ad infinitum, ad gloriam. In this epic tragicomedy, Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a Schenectady, N.Y., theater director, moves to Manhattan with the gigantic notion of putting on a realistic drama as big as all of New York City. A self-styled truth teller, Caden manages to exasperate or repel the fascinating women (including Catherine Keener, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michelle Williams) who cross his downward path. The project drags on — it’s his life’s work, and it may take that long to finish — but Kaufman’s imagination never falters. Things keep getting bigger and weirder and denser and sadder and funnier, till all the pressure on Caden leads to a final implosion. A movie so human, you may want to argue with it, spank it, take it home or give it some Xanax, Synecdoche is richly devious and daring: a truly, gargantuanly independent vision.