Sunday, July 11, 2010


John Cassavetes' 1970 masterpiece "Husbands" is by far one of my favourite films of all time! I'm aware that this film divides a lot of fans of John Cassavetes. Some love it, and some loathe it. And to be honest, I can understand both sides. But I find it extremely dramatic, funny, touching, brutal, and thought provoking. Some have complained that it is too long, misogynistic, contrived, pretentious, and badly acted. You're intitled to your opinion, but I don't share it. John Cassavetes' cinema was never to appeal to mass aproval or for enjoyment. It's meant to slap you in the face silly, wrench emotions out, throw you into uneasy laughter, put you ill at ease with an uncomfortable situation, drag out scenarios pass the point of tediousness, get into your skin, get into your brain, and have you walking out of the theatre feeling like you just got off a rollercoaster. If you haven't felt this by the end, then I'm afraid you should ask your designer to input an emotion chip in the android brain of yours. Lots of film directors make great, fun, entertaining, and dramatic films. But few take on the emotional coach role. Cassavetes has you running around nerve ends exposed, doing laps around your own personal plights, guilts, and loves. Maybe I've painted an over the top description of his films, but when I think back on his films, this is what comes to mind. I have a very hard time criticizing his films, because his films abandon typical cinema interpetation. He does not follow cinema rules, therefore I cannot follow typical rules of criticisim. Cassavetes had inserted a heart into celluloid, that burns before the eyes on the cinema screen. The film "Husbands" begins with three middle age males attending the funeral of a fourth friend. We have John Cassavetes (Gus), Peter Falk (Archie), and Ben Gazzara (Harry) returning to the man-child role, as they escape from middle age suburbia on a European bender. The bender includes scenes of drunkeness, singing, basketball, gambling, picking up girls, picking on people, and often making complete asses of themselves. This film is just too thick on topics to have a simple review give it any justice. But I urge everyone to experience his cinema with an open mind, and commitment. John Cassavetes has given us this commitment in making it. He is truly a genius of independent films, and is obviously (in my book) up there with Orson Wells, Francois Truffaut, and Alfred Hitchcock as one of the greatest directors in cinema history. Be prepared to not like everything you see, because I don't think he wanted you to. He wanted an emotional reaction that sticks on your brain. I've read that he said "We only have 2 hours to change someones life", and for me...he did!

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