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John Cassavetes has been directing films for close to ten years when Faces was released in 1968, but it was the picture that established him as one of America's most original and distinctive talents behind the camera long after he'd earned a reputation as a quirky but charismatic actor. The Criterion Collection have given Faces a new release on DVD, and the disc walks the fine line between accurately capturing the movie's rough, naturalistic look (it was shot on 16mm and lit to give the cast maximum freedom of ...
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John Cassavetes has been directing films for close to ten years when Faces was released in 1968, but it was the picture that established him as one of America's most original and distinctive talents behind the camera long after he'd earned a reputation as a quirky but charismatic actor. The Criterion Collection have given Faces a new release on DVD, and the disc walks the fine line between accurately capturing the movie's rough, naturalistic look (it was shot on 16mm and lit to give the cast maximum freedom of movement) and cleaning up a film that had suffered at the hands of time and rough treatment. Transferred to disc in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1, Faces often looks grainy and the contrast shifts dramatically from scene to scene, but the film's unvarnished look is purposeful, and the transfer that appears on disc one of this set reflects the vision of Cassavetes and director of photography Al Ruban, and unlike some earlier video releases this shows us the grit that is supposed to be there without the grit that isn't, and it does make a difference. Disc two is devoted to supplementary materials, most notably an alternate version of the opening of the film (running seventeen minutes), which presents the footage in a notably different sequence (it was replaced after the film had screened at the Toronto Film Festival). Also featured is an episode of the French television series Cineastes de Notre Temps devoted to Cassavetes which includes two interviews with the filmmaker -- one shot in California in 1965 while Faces was in production, and other shot in a French television studio in 1968 after it had been released. The interviews are often funny and revealing, though the quality of the archival print is fair at best. And two original documentaries round out the disc -- Making Faces, featuring interviews with actors Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel and Lynn Carlin and camerman/editor Al Ruban as they discuss the long process of making the film, and Lighting and Shooting The Film, in which Ruban breaks down the different film stocks, lenses and lighting techniques used to give different scenes in Faces their individual looks. And finally, the booklet includes a short but appreciative essay by Stuart Klawans. Faces has never been a beautiful film to look at, but it's a powerful and moving study of the human heart, and Criterion have helped give the movie a new life on home video; this DVD is it's best presentation yet for film collectors.
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Special Features

Seventeen-minute alternate opening sequence from an early edit of the film; Episode of the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps from 1968, dedicated to Cassavetes, featuring rare interviews and behind-the-scenes footage; Making "Faces," a 2004 documentary including interviews with actors Lynn Carlin, Seymour Cassel, and Gena Rowlands and director of photography AL Ruban; Lighting & Shooting the film, a short documentary from 2004 in which Ruban explains how he and the crew achieved the distinct look of Faces; A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Stuart Klawans
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
The maturation of his maverick "home movie" ethos, John Cassavetes's Faces (1968) incisively explores the disintegration of an upper middle-class marriage. Shot in 16mm black-and-white, Cassavetes's mobile long takes capture the shifting character dynamics as John Marley's Richard walks out on Lynn Carlin's Maria for a night with Gena Rowlands's prostitute Jeanie, leaving Maria to find temporary solace with Seymour Cassel's young swinger Chet. Punctuating those long takes with extreme close-ups, the actors' brief moments of silent emotional revelation allude to the feelings masked by the jokes, songs, and dances that constitute their interactions. Filmed over eight months and edited over several years, the final form of Faces is hardly off-the-cuff, yet Cassavetes's cinéma vérité style and reliance on improvised performances of scripted lines created a feeling of spontaneous intimacy to match the "realistic," mundane truth of marital boredom. Independently produced by Cassavetes after two frustrating Hollywood experiences, Faces became a critical hit. Along with prizes from the Venice Film Festival and the New York Film Critics Circle, Faces received Oscar nominations for Cassavetes's script and Cassel's and Carlin's supporting performances, confirming Cassavetes's place as one of the most innovative and influential American filmmakers of the 1960s.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/17/2009
  • UPC: 037429198827
  • Original Release: 1968
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Presentation: Special Edition / B&W
  • Time: 2:10:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 62,469

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Marley Richard Forst
Gena Rowlands Jeannie Rapp
Lynn Carlin Maria Forst
Seymour Cassel Chet
Frederick Draper Freddie
Val Avery McCarthy
Dorothy Gulliver Florence
Joanne Jordan Louise
Darlene Conley Billy Mae
Gene Darfler Jackson
Elizabeth Deering Stella
John Hale
Midge Ware
Laurie Mock
Christina Crawford
James Bridges Extra
David Rowlands
O.G. Dunn Comedian
George Sims Bartender
John Neilson
Technical Credits
John Cassavetes Director, Editor, Screenwriter
Jack Ackerman Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Maurice McEndree Editor, Producer
Phedon Papamichael Art Director
Don Pike Sound/Sound Designer
Al Ruban Associate Producer, Cinematographer, Editor, Producer
Charlie Smalls Songwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Faces
1. Morning Meeting [:15]
2. Loser's Club / Jeannie's House [3:13]
3. "Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair" [12:15]
4. Home For Dinner [6:17]
5. Not All That Funny [10:58]
6. Unexpected Request [2:24]
7. Love Conquers Man [3:23]
8. Kid With Sneakers [3:16]
9. Dickie's Return [9:00]
10. Chairman of the Board [5:37]
11. "You Get to Me" [6:54]
12. At the Whisky [2:46]
13. Chet and the Ladies [5:58]
14. "Fools of Ourselves" [4:54]
15. Alone With Chet [7:13]
16. Lousy Eggs [15:06]
17. Tears of Happiness [3:56]
18. Ready [5:16]
19. Color Bars [2:03]
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Disc #1 -- Faces
   Play the Movie
Disc #2 -- Faces
   Alternate Opening
   Cinéastes de Notre Temps
      Play All
      Part One: Hollywood, 1965
      Part Two: Paris, 1968
   Making Faces
   Lighting & Shooting the Film
      Ruban Intro
      Sequence Explanations
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This movie will change your life

    If you ask me, this is the movie Citizen Kane is supposed to be. It's a dissection of America, an anatomy of aberrations of the male psyche. Not melodrama like Kane, but almost a documentary of what people really act like when they think no one is watching (or have a few beers--the same thing). Deep, searching, profound, complex.  Don't let the opening scene put you off. It seems too much, but makes sense later when you understand the characters better. And that's a key to Cassavetes' work: The characters take time to understand. They are not cartoons and cliches. I've seen this movie about ten times and I keep seeing new things in it. Not ''secret clues'' like in Hitchcock, but seeing new complexity in the men's and women's emotions. Like people in life, these characters won't be figured out easily. I also want to put in a plug for a totally amazing book about Cassavetes that you can get at a discount here. It's by Ray Carney, who has a massive website totally devoted to Cassavetes life and work, and who knew him and talked with him about his movies. Cassavetes on Cassavetes is the name of the book and in it the filmmaker tells incredible stories about what it is really like to be an indie, no budget filmmaker. What a nut this book shows he must have been. And what a great genius this film shows he was.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews