An Honest Review from an Honest (and Gassy) Guy (who doesn't take things too seriously)
“For one week back in the late sixties, Steven Spielberg was hired as a production assistant on this John Cassavettes' classic.”
A proud strip club owner is forced to come to terms with himself as a man, when his gambling addiction gets him in hot water with the mob, who offer him only one alternative.
Though it is sometimes a tedious viewing experience, its improvisational and documentary techniques are rewarding.
Cassavetes depicts marital problems with harsh, uncompromising realism and hand-held camera. The movie may be overlong and excessive, but it's always honest. .
The movie is very blunt and relentless, sometimes redundant, at moments nearly unintelligible, but the entire effect is as of a high-strung, very bright documentary about the way things are.
“An interesting film which explores marriage and divorce. Not my favorite, but at least it uses 16mm (my favorite).”
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Faces is a 1968 drama film, written and directed by John Cassavetes and starring John Marley, Cassavetes' wife Gena Rowlands, Fred Draper, Seymour Cassel and Lynn Carlin. Both Cassel and Carlin received Academy Award nominations for this film. Cassavetes was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Faces. The film was shot in high contrast 16 mm black and white film stock. In 2011, it was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
Marley eventually goes on home, and there is a scene with his wife (Lynn Carlin) that is one of the best single scenes I've ever seen. They sit at the dining room table and talk about sex, and just in the way they form their sentences you can see they're terribly "sophisticated" and verbal, but really very frightened and repressed.
Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema.
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The film begins with the man (John Marley), a fairly prosperous executive, stopping off at a prostitute's apartment on his way home. The hooker (Gena Rowlands) and her roommate are already entertaining two men, and there is some alcoholic give-and-take punctuated with stale dirty jokes (has anybody noticed that dirty jokes have simply passed out of the repertory of most people under 30?).
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Drags its realism along like an overblown drunk tooting his own horn.
John Cassavetes' "Faces" is the sort of film that makes you want to grab people by the neck and drag them into the theater and shout: "Here!" It would be a triumphant shout. Year after year, we get a tide of bilge that passes for "the American way of life" in the movies.
Gena Rowlands (in real life, Cassavetes' wife) avoids the heart-of-gold cliches and plays a prostitute who has her own problems and a deep reservoir of human sympathy as well.
Lynn Carlin was reportedly a secretary at Screen Gems when Cassavetes cast her as Marley's wife. This is her first professional role; she brings depth and truth to it.
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In a burst of alcoholic ethics, Marley announces he wants a divorce, and telephones the call girl while his wife watches. We then follow two stories, Marley's evening with the prostitute, and his wife's outing with three women friends.
“not only does this movie allow you to enter the mind of the lost and confused but it shows you its complexity in a way that teaches you about yourself”
. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .
John Cassavetes’ almost unbearably intimate Faces is getting even more close-up and personal: experimental filmmaker James Benning has constructed a “remake” of the film, set to premiere at the . . . Read more »
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There's also an alternate 17-minute opening to the film, with some never-before-seen scenes and others whose sequence was changed for the final cut. (The original edit of Faces, screened for a test audience, was three hours and 20 minutes long.) Watching this alternate beginning reinforces the impression that every Cassavetes movie contains an infinite number of other possible movies. Unfortunately, he lived only long enough to make a few of them.
The World of Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Ingrid Bergman
Faces is the sort of film that makes you want to grab people by the neck and drag them into the theater and shout: 'Here!'
Kellee writes about classic & modern film, retro TV... and life's adventures, with a sassy Irish passion.
Cassavetes' jazz-scored improvisational film explores interracial friendships and relationships in Beat-Era (1950s) New York City.
Handled incorrectly, these scenes could all be mawkish stereotypes. But Cassavetes has pressed beneath the stereotypes and down to the level where these things really do happen.
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“As a means of acting/love portrayal, relationships, etc”
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Along with A Woman Under the Influence, Cassavetes' most popular movie among critics, art-house audiences and Academy members.