15 June 2010


Cassavetes is a special kind of filmmaker, whose stories move with rough, invisible act breaks that are still act breaks. The dialogue sounds like -- it is -- dialogue about nothing, but so much is in there, not being said. Sometimes the characters are struggling desperately to communicate, unable; other times they are trying in vain to subsume or conceal some thought, or impulse, or reaction. Often they speak in non-sequiturs and sloppily brutal, confrontational ways to each other. Often they laugh or sing too hard, too loud, a weird unsettling hysteria edging in on their joyful sounds. This is what people do. Human beings are messy when they are emotional. Cassavetes films are about human beings and their emotions.

Faces is well named. It draws immediate attention to the number of times the camera finds a face and pushes in too tight on it, holds too long on it, forces you to look at what's going on in there. This isn't a movie of close-ups; it's a movie of extreme close-ups. Not just the cinematography, either: this movie stands far closer to its characters than most movies ever do. This is a film you either love or hate -- with characters you either love or hate -- warts and all.

Myself? Personally, I love the film -- and its messy, raw-nerved, desperate and self-destructive characters.

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