Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Remember the first time you saw that one amazing movie? All the emotion you've ever wanted is just all over the screen. The actors are spot on. The story is real, raw, sparse. This is my experience with Faces. I wasn't quite sure what I was headed for when I started the film. But, by the films end I was a wreck. And thrilled.

The film viewer is playing the role of the voyeur. This is in all films. But, this time around, we're basically watching a home movie of a marriage's final stage. The film is shot in black and white with 16mm film. The look is grainy, dark, blurred. The filming seems unsophisticated. But, all of this works wonders for the film. You are drawn in because this doesn't seem like acting.

Cassevetes does use a script for the film. But, he believes film is the actors expression and not the writers. Cassevetes allows the actor to take over the role. He does not allow the actors to discuss their parts with one another. He wants the whole scene to be fresh and new. As if it is happening for the first time. Since it is happening for the first time (or, how ever many takes took place)we are privy to a personal moment. These characters are lived by the actors. There is nothing removed or too staged.

The film is a series of drunken interactions. There are dialogues about gender, age, marriage, sex. And they're all discussed like real people. These aren't overly educated philosophers. These are the average person. Drunk, lost, and grasping for meaning. For connection. For understanding.

Cassevetes is the philosopher of this film. Scene after scene we are presented with the mundane in the most exiting way. A housewife looking for one last great seduction, a beautiful prostitute seeking out love, a husband just needing a little escape, and a woman breaking into a million pieces on the bathroom floor.

The final 20 minutes of this film are overwhelming. They appear out of nowhere. A twist unexpected, only slightly hinted about throughout the film. An intensity. An aggressive reality to the way we can be pushed too far. And how we attempt to save ourselves despite ourselves.

An absolute masterpiece.


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