Saturday, March 20, 2010


Watched a good film by John Cassavetes last night, "Husbands: A Comedy About Life, Death and Freedom" (1970). The film follows three men behaving badly after a friend's funeral. Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara, and Peter Falk. Before "indie film" meant "Juno" and its ilk, Cassavetes directed and independently financed small, personal films that were truly independent, films that used improv and a cinema verite style, and "real" people more ethnic and offbeat than standard Hollywood actors.

These people are drunk and passionate and obsessed with authenticity and expression. They rail and weep, they sing and philosophize, they get swept away by anger, love, self pity, depression, arrogance. They make bad decisions. In essence, they are human. It's refreshing--and jarring--to watch a film so free from artifice, and so much closer to reality than your standard Hollywood entertainment. Scenes go where they want, and don't have that snappy written feeling or the predictability of a traditional three-act plot structure. Cassavetes' film is like a wedding party where people have had too much to drink. Undercurrents surface, tempers flare, and people might say anything. Raw emotion trumps decorum. Something is at stake.

No comments: