Faces ★★★★★


Scene to scene of angry domesticity, no real structure to it. Just constant existential dread. Even with such oppressive claustrophobia and capitalist distortion of values/desires etc., Cassavetes still finds moments of kindness, gestures of love, and true happiness. There’s a possibility for us to be happy, choices we can make, yet we so often don’t choose happiness, or we can’t. There’s rarely ever a chance to breathe in a Cassavetes film, only moments where you aren’t being suffocated, moments when the tenderness shines through, and that’s what we live for. Never has a movie so slow with so little stakes felt so anxiety inducing. As much as his work is fraught with tension, he’s never not astoundingly empathetic to every single person who enters his frame. Extensive rehearsal periods with every actor who has even one minute of screen time, during which Cassavetes would always ask what they thought the character should be/do. Letting the actor have more control over the character lends to much more believable and well rounded performances. There’s NO other performance like one in a Cassavetes film. You don’t feel as if you’re simply watching people perform, it’s as if you’ve taken a brief glimpse into lives. At times, it feels like you’re violating someone’s privacy in their most personal moments, and That’s often the point. Cassavetes isn’t interested in “entertainment” he says so often he hates the idea of “entertainment.” But he LOVES art and it comes through in every moment of his films. Rarely are his works less than stellar, even if they’re occasionally a little long in the tooth. Even then, it’s clearly the point that the scenes go on for as long as they do; it becomes EXHAUSTING, as the characters are often feeling intensely.