John Cassavetes: Five Films Actually, call it "John Cassavetes: Seven and One-Fifth Films." This staggering set from the mad monks at Criterion digitally remasters five of the Indie-film godfather's…
DVD Review

John Cassavetes: Five Films (2004)

Details Release Date: Sep 21, 2004; DVD Release Date: Sep 21, 2004; Distributor: Criterion

Actually, call it ''John Cassavetes: Seven and One-Fifth Films.'' This staggering set from the mad monks at Criterion digitally remasters five of the Indie-film godfather's most personal cinematic statements -- the groundbreaking Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Opening Night -- plus Charles Kiselyak's documentary A Constant Forge, Cassavetes' 108-minute alternate edit of Bookie, and a recut opening of Faces. It may be more semi-improvisational angst than you can handle -- and the earlier films have aged badly -- but the director's influence on the cutting edge of the 1960s through today is incalculable. Come for the acting -- Gena Rowlands in Faces, Woman, and Opening; Ben Gazzara in Bookie -- not the technique. ''I think I'm probably one of the worst directors around,'' Cassavetes says in an interview, ''but I do have an interest in my fellow man.''

EXTRAS Interviews with Rowlands, Gazzara, Peter Falk, Seymour Cassel, and others; a 1968 French TV special; a nifty tour through the camera and lighting choices in Faces; a hefty booklet with appreciations by the likes of Martin Scorsese and novelist Jonathan Lethem.

Originally posted Sep 24, 2004 Published in issue #785 Sep 24, 2004 Order article reprints