Faces | 1968 | dir. John Cassavetes

Top: Akira Kurosawa’s version of events

Bottom: John Cassavetes’ version

"I adore the neo-realists for their humaneness of vision. Zavattini is surely the greatest screenwriter that ever lived. Particularly inspirational to me when I made Shadows were La Terra Trema, I Vitelloni, Umberto D and Bellissima. The neo-realist filmmakers were not afraid of reality; they looked it straight in the face. I have always admired their courage and their willingness to show us how we really are. It’s the same with Godard, early Bergman, Kurosawa and the second greatest director next to Capra, Carl Dreyer. Shadows contains much of that neo-realistic influence."

- John Cassavetes

"In the last couple of decades or so, something has happened to the American dream. I don’t quite know what it is, and it’s still not very clear in my mind. Confusion has replaced patriotism. The intellect has replaced love. If something doesn’t make money, no one is interested. Everything is for sale. Emotions are sold. Sex is sold. Everything is sex. Cars, women, clothes, your face, your hands, your shoes! Look at the ads, at television. My emotions aren’t for sale. My thoughts can’t be bought. They’re mine. I don’t want movies that sell me something. I don’t want to be told how to feel."

- John Cassavetes (via roadmovies)

"To me, John’s the funniest man on earth. He’s like a bad kid sometimes and he’s got a double diesel engine. He doesn’t bother with minor things like ‘Action’ or ‘Cut.’ You just do it and he’s got it. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’d push himself and his crew into a revolving door to get a shot. He sees things none of the rest of us do." — Joan Blondell

A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
Dir. John Cassavetes

I first met Peter Falk in 1969 on the set of a film called Gil Intoccabili, which, for some reason, was released in America as Machine Gun McCain. It was what I call a “kind of good movie” and it was a lot of fun to make. We hit it off and became good friends, Peter, John, and I. That was the beginning of a long, close, and very creative friendship. 
Then John wrote for Peter, Ben Gazzara and himself. That led to A Woman Under the Influence, which came out in 1974. Peter was my husband and I was the woman having a breakdown. His character was under a lot of pressure, too, and he played that so well. His character was a mixed-up guy but a loving husband. The scene where she comes back from the mental institution is just so touching, but, once again, he miscalculates and has this family gathering, which just scares and rattles her. It was exactly the wrong thing to do but there was love in it. It was a deep and complex role and he inhabited it.
On set, he was a natural and a hard worker. He gave his all when he was acting, but I think it was hard for him at the start to adapt to John’s way of working. John didn’t give a lot of specific direction. He was open, you could move freely as an actor. You had these microphones on your body. It was about spontaneity, being in the moment. I remember, right at the start, Peter said to me: “I don’t know what he’s talking about.” I said: “Just go with it.” It was tough for him, for all of us, but incredibly liberating.
He came to appreciate the whole experience of how we worked. It was a rare and kind of special freedom and you had to respond. People think we were against the studio system but it was more a case of we just wanted to make our own movies our own way. We were of one accord and it was a wonderful thing.
Peter had this remarkable spirit. When the studios all passed on A Woman Under the Influence, he helped raise the money to make the film. Just incredible loyalty. He was that sort of guy. When you consider that he lost an eye to cancer when he was three years old, it gives you some idea of his spirit. He had to go and take up something really hard such as acting. As an actor, he was attentive. He listened. He didn’t just pretend to listen like many actors do. It’s actually hard to listen on set, what with all the necessary distractions: the lights, the crew, the attention. He had a truly great talent for that. That’s one of the reasons I took to him.
And he had this incredible range. He went off and did Columbo and became the most popular detective on American television; then there was The Great Race, which is just a hugely enjoyable chase film; then there was Wings of Desire with Wim Wenders, where you see this whole new side of him. Extraordinary, really. He was a free spirit creatively. He had so many parts he made his own and it all spun together somehow into this wonderful career. 
We kept in touch and I’m still very close to his wife, Shera, but he was out of touch for the last year or so because of his illness. You don’t lose someone like that and not have it blast a big hole in your life. But, you know, I like to think of the good times, the great times, when we were all part of something new and free and wonderful.
— Gena Rowlands on her friendship with Peter Falk [ x ]
Found on Etsy.
Found on etsy.