(1968)4.5Lucia BozzolaThe maturation of his maverick "home movie" ethos, John Cassavetes's Faces (1968) incisively explores the disintegration of an upper middle-class marriage. Shot in 16mm black-and-white, Cassavetes's mobile long takes capture the shifting character dynamics as John Marley's Richard walks out on Lynn Carlin's Maria for a night with Gena Rowlands's prostitute Jeanie, leaving Maria to find temporary solace with Seymour Cassel's young swinger Chet. Punctuating those long takes with extreme close-ups, the actors' brief moments of silent emotional revelation allude to the feelings masked by the jokes, songs, and dances that constitute their interactions. Filmed over eight months and edited over several years, the final form of Faces is hardly off-the-cuff, yet Cassavetes's cinéma vérité style and reliance on improvised performances of scripted lines created a feeling of spontaneous intimacy to match the "realistic," mundane truth of marital boredom. Independently produced by Cassavetes after two frustrating Hollywood experiences, Faces became a critical hit. Along with prizes from the Venice Film Festival and the New York Film Critics Circle, Faces received Oscar nominations for Cassavetes's script and Cassel's and Carlin's supporting performances, confirming Cassavetes's place as one of the most innovative and influential American filmmakers of the 1960s.