DVD - 2004
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Powerful story of the disintegration of a marriage of a captain of industry and his wife. A married couple struggles with their disintegrating relationship.
Publisher: Irvington, NY : Criterion Collection ; Chicago, IL : Distributed by Home Vision Entertainment, [2004]
ISBN: 9780780029194
Branch Call Number: 7.914 Fa
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (130 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: John Cassavetes' faces


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Jan 22, 2015

The war between the sexes is a bleak battlefield indeed in this early experimental work by John Cassavetes. As his marriage deteriorates into a series of angry clashes, Richard Forst tries to seek some comfort in the arms of Jeannie, a prostitute half his age. His wife Maria, meanwhile, has her own disastrous fling with Chet, a young dance floor gigolo. But with the morning light fantasies give way to cold reality and each partner is forced to confront the loveless mess their relationship has become. Themes of alienation and illusion run strongly throughout Cassavetes’ film as characters gasp for air between bouts of loneliness and rage; each one bearing the scars of living yet none capable of sharing their pain openly. Drunken banality and sexual games replace actual communication, and as the night wears on both become increasingly destructive. While one of Jeannie’s intoxicated clients proudly declares his love for “Aesop’s fables and Walt Disney”, one of Maria’s elderly friends, terrified of her own mortality, makes a pathetic fool of herself fawning over a blond youth. Even the Forst’s own adulterous transgressions are shown for the desperate acts of denial they are; in trying to ignore their marriage’s impending demise they form the most tenuous of bonds with people who are essentially idealized strangers. As Chet sagely observes, “Nobody has the time to be vulnerable to each other...” Cassavetes’ use of B&W coupled with severe camera angles which pit foreground against background, often across a table or flight of stairs, highlights the movie’s confrontational tone. Furthermore, as characters go from room to room flicking switches on and off, shifting panels of light and darkness are created which offset the film’s heavy realist approach. Lastly, the use of artwork is both subtle and powerful; while Jeannie’s apartment is decorated with images of solitary nymphs, the Forst’s have a painting of a couple playing an intense game of chess and a photo of multiple streams flowing aimlessly over a barren landscape. If the drama is a wee bit overdone in parts the powerful performances almost make up for it.

Scaltro Mar 18, 2014

I could not get into this.


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