A Constant Forge (2000)
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Audience Reviews for A Constant Forge
A good primer on the life and cinema of John Cassavetes, but it's largely a love letter and nothing more. For those who'd like some real insight into the Godfather of American Independent Film, check out Ray Carney's fantastic book "Cassavetes on Cassavetes." However, it should be noted that A Constant Forge does a commendable job of capturing the intrigue, wonder and fallibility of human beings that so fascinated Cassavetes and informed all of his work.
"A Constant Forge" is a highly insightful documentary on the films of John Cassavetes, as told by friends, collaborators and admirers with some wonderful backstage footage thrown in for good measure.(Note to self: get around to watching "Faces" one of these decades.) Much light is shed on his process which combined a great deal of structured writing, prominent use of non-professional actors and on set improvisation to create a naturalism that was much at odds with the artifice of Hollywood. His style has inspired many a filmmaker since, some of whom sadly lacking the necessary sympathy towards their characters. For better or for worse, "A Constant Forge" ends up mimicking the structure of a typical Cassavetes film in its rambling format.(To be fair, the documentary is much longer than an average Cassavetes film and is therefore perfect for a long train ride.) And even then, little information is given on Cassavetes' own life. He is born; emigrates from Greece at the age of 11; marries Gena Rowlands; makes a handful of movies and dies from cirrhosis of the liver. For example, I would have loved to have heard how he met Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara, two established actors by the time they started to act in his films.
A good (if slightly excessive at 3hr 20m) documentary about Cassavetes.
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