Casavettes

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tim Raffey, Apr 29, 2002.

  1. Tim Raffey

    Tim Raffey Stunt Coordinator

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    A couple weeks ago I rented Faces, somewhat out of the blue, as I'd never seen a John Cassavetes movie, just heard of them. The one comment that made me want to try was reading somewhere that he made films where 'everyone was drunk but the camera man'. I still haven't confirmed nor denied this (though the IMDb says he died of cirhosis of the liver), but I'll be damned if Faces wasn't one of the most emotionally convincing movies I've ever seen. As a guy in Canada who just turned 18 (for those out of the country, this basically means I've been spending a lot of my social time at the bottom of a bottle), I've come to nervously cherish the drunk moments I spend with friends (etc.) where nobody holds back words or gestures (though thankfully, I try not to consort with "brawlers"), and emotions seem to be elevated right to the surface.

    And of course Faces captured this perfectly. To the point where I'd call it emotionally pure (albeit aided by alcohol) cinema.

    Then, faced with somewhat of a generally pessimistic feeling towards life ("...my feeling that everything was dead"), I watched Minnie & Moskowitz. Whereas there was an overlying sadness to Faces, Minnie and Moskowitz was as frustrating as life, but with a more hopeful ending. It's been a long time since a movie's changed my perspective toward life, even a little bit.

    So I guess what I'm saying is, now what? I can try to get my hands on copies of Shadows, Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, etc. (and I've already bought Cassavetes on Cassavetes for when I've seen a few more), but what else should I see of his, or anyone elses? Or just talk about Cassavetes, as I am quite enthusiastic about the guy's work right now.

    (Of course, I misspelled Cassavetes' name in the topic header. If any moderator wants to save me some dignity, it would be much appreciated.)
     
  2. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    A Woman Under The Influence is a must. It's an emotionally shattering film and deserves much better than the crap DVD.
    The only other one I've seen and would also highly recommend is Opening Night. Gena Rowlands is a successful stage actress but alcohol and buried trauma are slowly destroying her.
    And remember when watching Cassavetes films, Gena Rowlands is Cassavetes.
     
  3. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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    I'll 2nd Brook's choice of the amazing A Woman Under the Influence and I would also strongly recommend Husbands (available on VHS only).
    A film about 3 middle-aged men who leave their families and go on a drunken binge after the sudden death of a fourth friend...great stuff!
     
  4. Tony Stirling

    Tony Stirling Stunt Coordinator

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    Gloria is a great one, too. Again, Gena Rowlands at her best. Don't be fooled into watching the Sharon Stone remake. Blech!!

    Anyway, this one's about a mobster's girlfriend that befriends a boy whose family was all killed by the mob. Very good. Don't think it's on DVD yet, tho. Sad...

    enjoy

    tony
     
  5. Pascal A

    Pascal A Second Unit

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    Along the same vein of Faces and A Woman Under the Influence, I also highly recommend Love Streams, which hasn't been mentioned yet. Love Streams has much in common with some of the more recent contemporary "comic tragedy" films of Tsai Ming-Liang and Mike Leigh in its depiction of disconnection and displacement.
    The Cassavetes on Cassavetes book is a good primer, as is Ray Carney's earlier The Films of John Cassavetes: Pragmatism, Modernism, and the Movies. Carney's approach is a bit unorthodox (in a good way), animated, and freely mixes theory with instinctual, personal reaction, but is accessible and informative reading.
     

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