Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

Cassavetes' Jazz.

I finally saw a film by John Cassavetes about 3 hours ago. I'm still reeling. The film, appropriately, was Cassavetes first: Shadows. It is a breathtaking film about race relations, love and art and it is truly moving. The performances are all hyper-realistic in the Actor's Studio sense and the improvised dialog hits places most films of the era and even today fail to go.

The real revelation was Cassavetes. A brilliantly talented filmmaker that uses his camera in the manner of Godard and Truffaut at a distance and Welles in closeup. He shepherds his group of mostly amateur actors to brilliant, moving performances especially Leila Goldoni as a young woman who struggling with, well herself really, as well as Hugh Hurd her struggling jazz-singer older brother.

It is truly amazing that Godard's Breathless and Cassavetes' Shadows were made independently of each other. While completely different in terms of narrative, the style is remarkably similar. Both use this rough hewn, elliptical style and quickness of pace to approximate the young vibrant feelings of youth. The acting is used to "naturalistic" ends, though much more so in the Cassavetes film. In the end both films herald a New Wave with a borrowing of another style: they are films as the best jazz.

Shadows is the sort of film that makes me reevaluate my top 10 of all time.

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