On John Cassavetes


male discourse in the films of john cassavetes

On the cusp of what would have been John Cassavetes‘ eighty-seventh birthday, it is not only possible to pause and imagine the work the man could have made throughout his sixties and seventies — think, for a moment, on Cassavetes as being alive and well, writing and directing films in a post-9/11 America — but also we can turn to his works for a lens onto a version of the world that, given the recent state of affairs on this planet, we could sorely use.

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Shadows is the first film John Cassavetes directed and, regarding the version he released in 1959, it is the only film he created that distinctly explores themes of Blackness and Black identity in an American urban landscape. Too Late BluesA Woman Under the InfluenceThe Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Love Streams all depict identity and race in different and attention-worthy ways as well, but none of Cassavetes’ directorial work after 1959 engages with these topics to the same degree or with the same immediacy.


john cassavetes: annotated biblioGraphy

For the most part, scholarly writings about the films of John Cassavetes did not appear until the 1980s and 1990s. They have been in large part spearheaded and expanded upon by a small number of authors. Prominent among those writers is Ray Carney. This article began under Carney’s advisorship, and his early input (2011–2012) helped shape its scale and scope. It is not a comprehensive listing and annotation of the writings, but it represents a selection highlighting major trends and directions of response and examination.