CASSAVETES–1966

Here’s a French documentary about John Cassavetes shot in two parts–in Hollywood in 1966 and in France in 1969. In the first section we see Cassavetes driving along Mulholland Drive to his house on Woodrow Wilson Drive in the Hollywood Hills. (The house will of course be familiar to any Cassavetes fan since most of his movies were shot there). Cassavetes smokes, drives a convertible, grumbles about L.A., shows off his editing equipment and shows a few scenes from his work-in-progress ‘Faces’. Three years later the film is done and it feels like this section is shot in a hotel room with some connection to a film festival. Part of the docs shaggy charm is in its self-consciously ‘verite’ manner–loosely shot with the French director/editor hurling questions from the other side of the room off-camera and catching Cassavetes in both his charming guise and his slightly demonic manner. I have to say that he puts me a little on edge–the kind of guy who’s watching you very carefully while speaking to you in a casual manner, a tiger about to spring without warning. He apparently liked slapping actors to get an emotional response. Jesus…

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