A Woman Under the Influence
John Cassavetes’ greatest success is built on a fearless, tour-de-force performance from Gena Rowlands as Mabel Longhetti, a working class wife and mom who sometimes struggles to keep it all together. Peter Falk is her husband, a proud man who loves Mabel, but is also ashamed of her. Love, as the song goes, will tear you apart.
When I think of this film, it’s all about Gena Rowlands; it’s one of the greatest on-screen performances ever in my opinion. But also, Peter Falk is amazing. And it’s John Cassavetes at his best. Although the film explores the difficult and heavy subject matter of mental illness, it somehow manages to deliver so much heart, humor, joy, and love to this beautiful story as well. There is a palpable energy in the performances, the writing, the camera moves and editing that all just leaps through the screen. There is a messiness, a raw, ’don’t give a f***’ attitude in the filmmaking here that I believe is the essence of great indie cinema and which is what makes John Cassavetes truly one of the greats.
October 2 & 8: Introduced by Leading Lights guest programmer Anthony Shim
David Armstrong, Sheila Viseltear
Among the most influential of all American filmmakers, John Cassavetes forged his own path, combining a successful career as an actor for hire (The Dirty Dozen; Rosemary’s Baby) with his own independent productions as writer-director. Cassavetes’ own films are raw, abrasive portraits of men and women wrestling with their demons, typically shot in a verité style, and feature powerhouse performances from his wife, Gena Rowlands, and regular collaborators Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara and Seymour Cassel, as well as extended family members. Cassavetes died in 1989 at the age of 59.
Filmography: Shadows (1958); Faces (1968); Husbands (1970); Opening Night (1977); Love Streams (1984)
Missing VIFF? Check out what’s playing at the VIFF Centre
Ansi meets Holappa, and these two lonely souls feel they are meant for each other, but Fate may have other ideas... Aki Kaurismäki crafts a poignant and pertinent comedy which picked up the Jury Prize at Cannes.
Cinema Salon: The Godfather, Part II
Coppola's majesterial sequel enriches and expands on the themes of the first film. Robert De Niro is the young Vito Corleone in flashbacks. Al Pacino tries to fill his father's shoes at the head of the family. Guest: Federico Fuoco.
In this poignant collaborative project, a trio of Indigenous west coast changemakers from the Nlaka'pamux, shíshálh and the Secwépemc Nations are learning and documenting the traditional cultural teachings and legacies of their Elders.
Orlando, My Political Biography
Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the transgressive novel is used as a framework to investigate the very real contemporary struggles of trans and non-binary people. Winner of the Teddy Award and Encounters Jury Prize at Berlin Film Festival.
A TV star (Natalie Portman) spends several days studying her next real life subject, Gracie (Julianne Moore), who became a tabloid sensation 20 years before, when she had an affair with a seventh grade student -- who is now her husband.