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Preservation funded by The Film Foundation and The Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Faces (1968)

Faces (1968)
August 19, 2006 - 7:30 pm

Directed by John Cassavetes

A stark domestic drama rendered with vérité immediacy, John Cassavetes' breakthrough feature has evolved since its original release into nothing less than the fountainhead of American independent film. Faces stars John Marley as a middle-aged executive who, dissatisfied with his suburban life and stultifying marriage, has a one-night stand with a sympathetic prostitute, movingly played by Gena Rowlands. Meanwhile Lynn Carlin, as the spurned wife, links up with easygoing Seymour Cassel after a girls' night out on the Sunset Strip.

Cassavetes famously self-financed and shot the film after hours over a long period, largely in his own house with a tiny crew and cast of friends, then labored over the post-production for three years before settling on a final cut. The result was bracingly honest and intense, a documentary-like showcase for the behavioral naturalism and raw emotion produced by rigorous improvisation. An actor himself, Cassavetes developed a deliberately functional, almost crude visual style to allow his beloved performers an unprecedented degree of creative freedom.

Faces proved a surprise box-office success and earned laudatory reviews, not least from the "New York Times," which hailed it as "far and away the strongest, bluntest, most important American movie of the year." Carlin and Cassel both received Oscar nominations for their supporting work, and Cassavetes also got a nod for his direct, loose yet symmetrical screenplay. A devastating critique of the status quo nevertheless suffused with empathy for its struggling characters, Faces remains arguably the most focused and fully-realized flm in Cassavetes' uncompromising career.

–Jesse Zigelstein

Maurice McEndree Productions Producer: Maurice McEndree Screenwriter: John Cassavetes Cinematographer: Al Ruban Editors: Maurice McEndree, Al Ruban Cast: Gena Rowlands, John Marley, Lynn Carlin, Seymour Cassel

35mm, 130 min.

Preserved in cooperation with Faces Distribution Corp. from the surviving 16mm original negative and reversal A/B rolls, a 35mm acetate dupe negative, the surviving 35mm original fullcoat magnetic recordings, and a 35mm acetate track negative. Laboratory services by Triage Motion Picture Services, Audio Mechanics, OJ Audio, NT Audio. Special thanks to: Gena Rowlands, Al Ruban.