Thursday, April 30, 2009


C-note on shelf candy
"Making of" featurettes are usually a desirable if superfluous DVD extra, but Faces is one case in which learning how a movie was made actively changes the experience of watching it. A 2004 documentary included on a second disc, Making Faces, has lengthy and thoughtful interviews with nearly every key player whom you'd want to hear from (with the exception of Cassavetes himself, who died in 1989 at the age of 59). As Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes' wife and longtime collaborator, puts it in an extensive interview: "[We] gave independent filmmaking a new name." With no budget and an unpaid group of friends who doubled as actors, grips, cameramen, and set painters, Cassavetes shot the movie at his own house over a period of six months in 1965 and proceeded to edit and postproduce it for the next three years, stopping when he ran out of money, then borrowing or begging more and starting again. (It was finally released in 1968, the same year Cassavetes played Mia Farrow's secretly Satanist husband in Rosemary's Baby.) Rowlands also discusses the fact that both she and Lynn Carlin were in the early stages of pregnancy at the time of filming—a detail that makes their emotionally and physically draining performances all the more extraordinary.

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