Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 202: Sun Jul 23

Faces (Benning, 2011) + Faces (Cassavetes, 1968): Close-Up Cinema, 5 & 7.30pm

Close-Up Cinema's 35mm screening of Faces in the John Cassavetes seaason is presented in a double bill with James Benning’s "remake" – an unexpected venture into the world of found footage filmmaking for the master of minimalist filmmaking.

Faces is, scene by scene, a remake of John CassavetesFaces. Each actor or actress is given the exact same film time as in the original. And each scene has exactly the length of the original. ... I reconstructed the entire film by using a face. So if people go home in the third setting, there are simply three faces. If a scene lasts half an hour and a person is seen in half the time, ie. Gena Rowlands for 15 minutes and then the other two characters. If you know Cassavetes' film well, you focus on the faces rather than on the dialogues. In this respect, the film is only now its title. ... I did Faces following my installation Two Faces but the work was also inspired by Sharon Lockhart and her interest in Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes. I dedicate this idea to Sharon Lockhart and perhaps Douglas Gordon.” – James Benning

Chicago Reader review of Cassavetes' Faces:
John Cassavetes's galvanic 1968 drama about one long night in the lives of an estranged well-to-do married couple (John Marley and Lynn Carlin) and their temporary lovers (Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel) was the first of his independent features to become a hit, and it's not hard to see why. It remains one of the only American films to take the middle class seriously, depicting the compulsive, embarrassed laughter of people facing their own sexual longing and some of the emotional devastation brought about by the so-called sexual revolution. (Interestingly, Cassavetes set out to make a trenchant critique of the middle class, but his characteristic empathy for all of his characters makes this a far cry from simple satire.) Shot in 16-millimeter black and white with a good many close-ups, this often takes an unsparing yet compassionate "documentary" look at emotions most movies prefer to gloss over or cover up. Adroitly written and directed, and superbly acted—the leads and Val Avery are all uncommonly good (and the astonishing Lynn Carlin was a nonprofessional discovered by Cassavetes, working at the time as Robert Altman's secretary)—this is one of the most powerful and influential American films of the 60s.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.


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