A Constant Forge Reviews
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.
At 3 hours 20 minutes, this documentary could use some trimming. The structure is a little too loose and meandering for my taste, but we do come away enlightened and given a new sense of love for Cassavetes' work. I would have liked to see more visual material of Cassavetes. There is some fantastic stuff out there which really shows what kind of a person he was. His fantastic interview alongside Gazzara and Falk on The Dick Cavett Show is a good example of this. His personality really shines through. I did enjoy how the documentary was, in a way, narrated posthumously by Cassavetes himself, as it makes great use of extensive audio interviews that were conducted with him (many of which are reproduced on the Criterion DVDs).