On directing > People have forgotten how to relate or respond | John Cassavetes



“These days, everybody is supposed to be so intelligent: ‘Isn’t it terrible about Nixon getting elected?’ ‘Did you hear about the earthquake in Peru?’ And you’re supposed to have all the answers. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, like, ‘What is bugging you, mister? Why can’t you make it with your wife? Why do you lie awake all night staring at the ceiling? Why, why, why do you refuse to recognize you have problems and deal with them?’
The answer is that people have forgotten how to relate or respond. In this day of mass communications and instant communications, there is no communication between people. Instead it’s long-winded stories or hostile bits, or laughter. But nobody’s really laughing. It’s more an hysterical, joyless kind of sound.
Translation: ‘I am here and I don’t know why.”


John Cassavetes, Cassavetes on Cassavetes*



*Since his death in 1989, John Cassavettes has become increasingly renowned as a cinematic hero--a renegade loner who fought the Hollywood system, steering his own creative course in a career spanning thirty years. Having already established himself as an actor, he struck out as a filmmaker in 1959 with Shadows, and proceeded to build a formidable body of work, including such classics as Faces, Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Gloria.


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  1. We don't take the time to be vulnerable with each other

    Most people don't know what they want or feel. And for everyone, myself included, It's very difficult to say what you mean when what you mean is painful. The most difficult thing in the world is to reveal yourself, to express what you have to... As an artist, I feel that we must try many things - but above all, we must dare to fail. You must have the courage to be bad - to be willing to risk everything to really express it all.

    Film is, to me, just unimportant. But people are very important

    I've always been able to work with anybody that doesn't want success. Jazz musicians don't want success... They have these little tin weapons - they don't shoot. They don't go anywhere. The jazz musician doesn't deal with the structured life - he just wants that night , like a kid.

    It doesn't matter if the words are written, because improvisation has been going on in films by everybody. There's nobody that doesn't improvise to some degree. So it just depends on what degree you need.


    John Cassavetes


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcPIAFQh60M
    Cinéastes de Notre Temps: John Cassavetes / Hubert Knapp; André S. Labarthe / 1969 / 104 min

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhnXuZLgylM
    I'm Almost Not Crazy : John Cassavetes / The Man and His Work / dir. Michael Ventura / 1984 / 60 min

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