Catching up with Cassavetes: #4 – “Faces” (1968)

7020358961_8a71a446db_zAnd I thought films such as Blue Velvet (1986), American Beauty (1999), and Revolutionary Road (2008) did a good job at encapsulating the mood of the soul crushing suburbs. Enter John CassavetesFaces (1968).

The ability to project moods of uncomfortableness through a film is something few directors can ever pull off with any worthwhile amount of efficiency. Yet in Cassavete’s fourth film, he and his team have managed to do just that.

Made up of several connected vignettes, each more awkward and hard to sit through than the previous one, Faces has all the qualities one would find if they were watching a home video of how unsatisfied and unhappy adults act in the wee hours of the morning long after the booze-filled party has ended.

Every scene had me taking a front row seat right smack dab in the middle of some sort of awkward situation or another. Frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever been this mesmerized from a film so intent on submerging its viewer in suburban mid-life angst as I was with this. Just one viewing of Faces is exhausting enough, the fact that I felt the need to watch this twice (in a row, mind you) should speak volumes of its power.

By the time Cassavetes’ camera finally does pull away from its many intense closeups to focus in a medium shot on two characters sitting opposite each other on their household steps, as if they were in some sort of existential limbo, the damage has already been done. It’s a tiny bit of reprieve from being face to face with these selfish, sexist, and immature suburban (wo)man-children. It’s also a giant impact of an ending that will not be forgotten by this cinephile any time soon.

Up next: Husbands (1970)

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

Categories: Director Spotlight, Reviews

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Catching up with Cassavetes: #8 – “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” (1976) | Filmbalaya.com - November 28, 2014

    […] up with Cassavetes: #3 – “A Child is Waiting” (1963) Catching up with Cassavetes: #4 – “Faces” (1968) Catching up with Cassavetes: #5 – “Husbands” (1970) Catching up with Cassavetes: #6 […]

  2. Catching up with Cassavetes: #10 – “Gloria” (1980) | Filmbalaya.com - December 16, 2014

    […] Catching up with Cassavetes: #3 – “A Child is Waiting” (1963) Catching up with Cassavetes: #4 – “Faces” (1968) Catching up with Cassavetes: #5 – “Husbands” (1970) Catching up with Cassavetes: #6 […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: