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Faces (The Criterion Collection) (1968)

Gena Rowlands , John Marley , John Cassavetes  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gena Rowlands, John Marley, Seymour Cassel
  • Directors: John Cassavetes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012TH9M0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,990 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The disintegration of a marriage is dissected in John Cassavetes' searing Faces. Shot in high-contrast 16 mm 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.

New, restored high-definition digital transfer
Seventeen-minute alternate opening sequence, from an early edit of the film
Cinéastes de notre temps (1968), a 48-minute episode from the French television series dedicated to Cassavates, featuring rare interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
Making Faces, a 2004 documentary including interviews with actors Lynn Carlin, Seymour Cassel, Gena Rowlands, and director of photography Al Ruban
Lighting and Shooting the Film, a short documentary from 2004 in which Ruban explains how he and the crew achieved the distinct look of Faces
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Stuart Klawans


Astonishing--a film that tenderly, honestly, and uncompromisingly examines the way we really live. --Roger Ebert

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Acceptable DVD of a classic film. October 19, 1999
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Faces" carries the dubious distinction of being considered the first "breakthrough" independent American feature.
"Faces" is a John Cassavetes film. It is also categorically one of the two or three greatest masterpieces of American cinema. (This is neither just a personal opinion, nor an exaggeration. This film is essential.) What makes this film so special will be lost on many domestic viewers, unfortunately, who simply aren't prepared for the experience. Nearly everything about the film is subversive of conventional Hollywood filmmaking techniques, and this is frustrating for people who aren't ready for it. For example, the film never "tells" you anything about the characters: you have to patiently observe them throughout the film, just as if they were real other people in the room. Furthermore, in typical Cassavetes' style, the characters' behavior is extreme, which can be unsettling. Finally, the film is pretty grim. However, if you're ready for a new experience, and can approach the viewing experience with an open and tolerant mind, this film will BLOW YOU AWAY.
The DVD is nothing special; I'm just grateful to have the film. The transfer isn't particularly sharp, and was made off an inglorious print. Framing -- full frame -- seems fine; if I remember correctly, the original (16mm) is not widescreen, so nothing should be lost. (The odd cropping that appears throughout the film is intentional.) Highest recommendation.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the Lonely People November 20, 2002
I've never seen a movie quite like this in my life! It's technically raw, the sound's bad and half the time I had no idea what was going on, but it builds to a brilliant portrait of four lonely lives. The bad jokes and laughter that eat up so much film time connect loose, rambunctious scenes that defy strict narrative logic--after a while it feels like you're watching this movie from the inside, right in the thick of the cigarettes and booze. As usual, Cassavetes shoots the '60s from unexpected angles: his focus is on the middle-aged middle managers and their fading suburban wives, stuck on the wrong side of the Sexual Revolution but still desperate to feel young and fulfilled. The movie doesn't make fun of them but brings you into their world, where disappointment, age and the pressures of conformity are finally getting the best of their vitality. Imagine "The Graduate" told from Mrs. Robinson's point of view. The powerful last scene ends in silence after a suicide attempt--no laughs, no routines. The death of a marriage or a new beginning? Cassavetes rarely matched this level of intensity. "Faces" is one of his very best.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
John Cassavetes is widely regarded as the father of the Independent film, who believed that risking anything was the only way to go, who bluntly told Scorsese Boxcar Bertha "sucked" (Scorsese then turned and created Mean Streets), and treated his crew like family who he payed very little (or at all). Whether or not Cassavetes is THE father of the Independent film is up to the film historians to decide. Besides, John Cassavetes was not interested in making films to make history or be the strict anti-trend to the big budget nature of Hollywood. John Cassavetes was interested in making films that give us truths about our lives, and he did so greatly, in a very different and low budget kind of nature that made his work seem even more honest. John Cassavetes Face's is, among the rest of his work, the most well known of his films to enter the public domain, and for many reasons is probably the best Cassavetes work to start with, next to A Women Under the Influence (a very devastating work).

Shot in Cassavetes' trademark documentary style filmmaking, the no BS approach to filming makes Faces even more realistic to watch. It is shot in high contrast black and white, and it look as low budget and unpolished as any other very low budget film. Don't be too surprised though, Faces is no banal third rate student film work. Cassavetes Oscar-nominated script effortlessly delves into the lives of these empty people and what makes them act the way they are. It is not a sloppy film either, as Cassavetes's camera work is actually quite inventive, and feels done right without making a big hoopla over how it is being used.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cassavetes film is brutally honest and realistic March 6, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
The state of independent film today, it is safe to say, would be radically different if it weren't for the pioneering art of John Cassavetes. His unapologetically realist style, coupled with intimate cooperation with his actors and his understanding of the emotional power of improvisation, has earned him the oft-applied title: Father of Independent Film. In Faces, the most mainstream-appreciated of his work, John Marley and Lynn Carlin are a middle-aged couple of swingers, trying to fill the gaps in their emotional relationship by having spontaneous trysts with socially peripheral characters--Marley with Gena Rowlands (a prostitute) and Carlin with Seymour Cassel (a beatnik). However, they find that they cannot be as casual as they wish, and end up tangled in all new romantic involvements with their lovers, which only serves to augment the emptiness they feel in their marriage. Cassavetes' ultra-realist camera style, alternatingly far-off/detached and then extremely close to the actors' faces (hence the title) reflects the characters' emotional states and yet, at the same time, is objectively distant--a style that has been aped recently in many indie features. John Cassavetes' son Nicholas has begun making his own movies (Unhook The Stars and She's So Lovely--written by his late father) and seems to be on the road to his own well-deserved success.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars real acting
Im a huge fan of the young seymour cassel. Hes made a few with gena rowlands. All good.
Published 12 days ago by susan phelan
5.0 out of 5 stars Bouncing Emotions Off A Wall In Black And White And Doubt
This is the most remarkable American independent film ever made. It will change your life. It will alter the way you look at everything. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mad Zack
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent depiction of a slice of life in the 60's
I loved John Cassevettes film Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown so I wanted to see more of his films. The story line of this movies was not as compelling. Read more
Published 4 months ago by L. Freed
1.0 out of 5 stars What did I miss ???
What? Could not get past the first 15 minutes. The laughter and silliness was to much to continue watching. Sad
Published 11 months ago by tazzi
4.0 out of 5 stars Gotta love Cassavetes.
A great film to watch for a course in the techniques of acting and directing. Not a film to be watched for satisfaction of cravings of mindless entertainment.
Published 12 months ago by Christopher D. Hull
2.0 out of 5 stars For Cassavetes Fans
A landmark independent art film that a good movie and a hit in its time, is unremarkable by today's standards.
Published 17 months ago by Lindsay Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Cassavetes infidelity theme with lush jazz score
John Cassavetes was a sometime actor but primarily indie film director extraordinaire, and Faces was one of his best directing works. Read more
Published on June 12, 2012 by Jancal
5.0 out of 5 stars Time Capsule
of the swinging 60's just before the hippie culture took over. It begins a little loud and brash but soon reveals characters as individuals instead of an energetic chaos. Read more
Published on April 30, 2012 by mr. contrarian
4.0 out of 5 stars When money is not an issue
A story of a well-hilled Jewish-American family of which a bossy husband relaxing mostly with half his age junior females terrorises a bored wife with divorce, mistakenly... Read more
Published on July 5, 2010 by Michael Kerjman
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Mainstream Film
I thought Cassavetes' "A Woman Under the Influence" was brilliant, but I'm sorry to say I only lasted 20 minutes into Faces before turning it off. Read more
Published on March 30, 2009 by Glenn Gallagher
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