The John Cassavetes Marathon Announcement

John Cassavetes’s independent films challenge distinctions between documentary and fiction films. Described sometimes as home movies, they seem to capture authentic moments of individuals’ experiences. The films’ intimate quality reflects Cassavetes’s career-long collaboration with cinematographer Al Ruban and actors such as Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara, and Seymour Cassel… As with the work of Jean-Luc Godard, Cassavetes’s films have been seen as a type of direct cinema, one that acknowledges the filmmaker’s impact on the material presented and that attempts to reflect or reveal the material itself. For both filmmakers, actors function as graphic or narrative components effectively controlled by the director and as documentary evidence of social and emotional realities that simply cannot be represented in a fictional film narrative.” - Cynthia Baron, Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film

To date I realise that I’ve yet to watch one film made by one of the most respected American filmmakers of all time, John Cassavetes. With twelve features under his directing belt I thought it’d be nice to end off 2012 with this little curriculum to my cinematic education.

For those who don’t already know, here’s his filmography:

Shadows (1959)

Too Late Blues (1961)

A Child is Waiting (1963)

Faces (1968)

Husbands (1970)

Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)

A Woman Under the Influence (1974)

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) - I’ll be watching the 1978 cut

Opening Night (1977)

Gloria (1980)

Love Streams (1984)

Big Trouble (1986)


  • CS

    Highly recommend Faces if you get the change to see it, great film. A Woman Under the Influence was decent but I don’t think I was in the right mood when I first watched it. I have a big blind spot when it comes to Cassavetes’ canon of work. I will have to slowly try and catch up in the new year.

  • Andrew Robinson

    Well… the only film I’m having a hard time sourcing is Big Trouble, but that’s available for rental on Amazon Instant (just need to figure out how to game the system to accept my non US cc)

  • Anna

    I saw his five essential films (Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Opening Night) earlier this year, and I can honestly say they’re all worth checking out, A Woman Under the Influence and Opening Night especially.

  • Andrew Robinson

    I was reminded of him listening to Girl on Guy where Aisha Tyler was talking to Saul Williams (love him) and he was talking about how when he moved to Paris people would lambast him (in a nice way) for having never seen a Cassavetes film… then I said, “I’ve never seen one” looked him up and am now set to watch them all. Criterion is giving me hope that this won’t be a bad choice.

  • Steven Flores

    That’s a nice list. I too, will be doing a Cassavetes marathon of sorts next year as he’s going to be part of my never-ending Blind Spot list of films and filmmakers to see for 2013.