Jun 5th 2019


Directed by John Cassavetes • 1968

After being stung by a couple of personally disappointing studio outings, up-and-coming director John Cassavetes began work on a tiny project with a small group of friends, shot in his own home on grungy black-and-white 16mm film, financed with paychecks from acting jobs in studio pictures, and ultimately self-distributed, entirely circumventing the churn of the Hollywood film industry. The result of three years of production, Faces would turn out to be a breakthrough for Cassavetes, a refinement of the jagged, rough-hewn style his name would become synonymous with and a blueprint for the string of classics he would crank out in the ensuing decade. John Marley and Lynn Carlin play a married couple who, after a heated argument, spend one long night drinking and looking for new love. Husband Richard rushes off to Jeannie (Gena Rowlands), the prostitute who seems to be the only person capable of receiving his affection. Meanwhile, wife Maria picks up aspiring gigolo Chet (the recently departed Seymour Cassel, in his only Academy Award-nominated performance) while on the town with her girlfriends, taking him home for an encounter that runs the gamut on all emotions unutterable. Coupled with his trademark close-ups and willingness to let scenes play long enough to morph before our eyes, Cassavetes proves here that all that’s needed to make a masterpiece is a heaping dose of feeling and a handful of good faces. (CW)

130 min • Continental Film Distributors • 35mm from American Genre Film Archive

Short: “Optical Printer Test” (2014) – 2 min – 16mm

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