Close Up

3 - 23 July 2017: Faces


"People stripped of all defense; an extraordinary, lacerating examination of middle-aged sexuality, in which clumsiness, lust, and failure in commuication are portrayed as inevitable components. Cassavetes is the master of fictional cinema vérité who subversively reveals us to ourselves" – Amos Vogel 

Our second screening is presented in a double bill with James Benning’s "remake" – an unexpected venture into the world of found footage filmmaking for the master of minimalist filmmaking.

John Cassavetes
1968 | 131 min | B/W | 35mm

The disintegration of a marriage is dissected in John Cassavetes's searing Faces. Shot in high-contrast 16mm black and white, the film follows the futile attempts of captain of industry Richard (John Marley) and his wife, Maria (Lynn Carlin), to escape the anguish of their empty marriage in the arms of others. Featuring astonishingly powerful, nervy performances from Marley, Carlin, and Cassavetes regulars Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel, Faces confronts suburban alienation and the battle of the sexes with a brutal honesty and compassion rarely matched in cinema.

James Benning
2011 | 131 min | B/W | Digital

Faces is, scene by scene, a remake of John Cassavetes' Faces. Each actor or actress is given the exact same film time as in the original. And each scene has exactly the length of the original. ...I reconstructed the entire film by using a face. So if people go home in the third setting, there are simply three faces. If a scene lasts half an hour and a person is seen in half the time, ie. Gena Rowlands for 15 minutes and then the other two characters. If you know Cassavetes' film well, you focus on the faces rather than on the dialogues. In this respect, the film is only now its title. ...I did Faces following my installation Two Faces but the work was also inspired by Sharon Lockhart and her interest in Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes. I dedicate this idea to Sharon Lockhart and perhaps Douglas Gordon.” – James Benning

Part of our John Cassavetes season