Mineshaft Gap

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

Stark life.

Cassavetes' Faces shook me to my core. It easily stands as one of the best acted films I have ever seen, as well as one of the finest scripts. The quick, documentary style camera work is also brilliantly effective creating a superb fly on the wall feeling that frequently makes the viewer feel perverse for watching.

Gena Rowlands, John Marley, Lynn Carlin, and Seymour Cassel all deserved Oscars for this film. Turning on a dime, these characters all act and more importantly interact closer to real humans than perhaps any other characters in the American cinema. For my viewing, the two centerpiece scenes are Marley and Carlin at the table and Carlin and Cassel in the bedroom. Anyone who has seen the film should be able to immediately identify those striking sequences. The repression and viciousness in the husband-wife scenes are handled with care that they don't become camp, and with an eye toward authenticity. The breeziness with which they assault each other all leads eventually to the later seen, where Carlin's wife character attempts suicide and the rather unfortunate boy brought into the mix must be her rescuer, but only to his own point.

The film is filled with glances, moments when the faces are caught without a role being played. Rowland's prostitute probably has the best handful of these perfect stolen instants, revealing more than even she might have known about the character. All in Faces play types, but Cassavetes' brilliant script doesn't allow them to rest in shallow territory long. By the end we feel that we know every major character in the film, simply by body language or the inflection on words. They feel like people.

With the two Cassavetes films I have seen, I already want to declare him the greatest American filmmaker post-Welles(well, post-major Welles). I had never seen Cassel outside Wes Anderson, and it is amazing to see the sexual danger he exudes here. Marley is both heart breaking and infuriating and Carlin is wrenching. Rowlands also tears you in two. The common denominator? Cassavetes must go down as the best actor's director ever. And his visuals dovetail so beautifully with the acting that he is brilliant there as well.

Faces is a landmark film, both in film history and for me personally.

My 10 favorite films of all time:
1. Citizen Kane
2. Rashoman
3. Faces
The Royal Tennenbaums
5. Dr. Strangelove
6. Playtime
7. Ghostbusters
Band of Outsiders
9. Breaking the Waves
10. Hannah and Her Sisters

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