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USA 1968
Directed by
John Cassavetes
130 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars


The first of the Cassavetes' intense representations of the search for love by ordinary people, Faces is probably his most recognized work/ It is an emotional roller-coaster as the characters rise up to engage with each other, then fall back with exhaustion from their failure before trying again. As usual Cassavetes’ matches his search for emotional realism with a filmic style that is as mobile and disruptive as it is silent and tender.

Featuring many of the characters who would become regulars in Cassavetes’s films, including his wife Gena Rowlands as a call girl and Seymour Cassel as young would-be stud, the film revolves around the disintegrating marriage of conventional middle-class suburbanites Richard (John Marley) and Maria (Lyn Carlin) in a story that describes one torrid night in their relationship. Cassavetes is often cited as a director with great sensitivity to women characters and here the exploration of socially-constructed identities and roles for both women and men of the time is exemplary, making Cassavetes, although stylistically light years away from the likes of Douglas Sirk and William Wyler, one of the great directors of the melodrama.

DVD Extras: Stills Gallery. Available as part of Shock’s excellent 7 disc JOHN CASSAVETES COLLECTION that includes also Shadows, A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (both the 108m and 135m versions) and Opening Night in new transfers. Also included is the documentary, A Constant Forge - The Life and Art of John Cassavetes by Charles Kiselyak and a booklet of recent articles about the life and work of Cassavetes. Coming in at a total run-time of 945m this set will be a must-have for anyone interested in independent cinema.

Available from: Shock Entertainment




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