John Cassavetes, frustrated with Hollywood after his films TOO LATE BLUES and A CHILD IS WAITING were watered down and mutilated, revisits the low-budget terrain of 1959's SHADOWS in this powerful drama that continues to influence new generations of filmmakers.
FACES documents the disintegration of the upper-middle-class marriage of a Los Angeles couple, Richard (John Marley) and Maria Forst (Lynn Carlin). When Richard confronts Maria about their deteriorating relationship, they each embark on a desperate quest to connect with another individual; for John, it is Jeannie Rapp (Gena Rowlands), a beautiful young call girl with whom he forms a genuine bond; Maria meets Chet (Seymour Cassel), a 24-year- old hustler. In a striking turn of events, Chet and Maria's meeting almost ends in disaster. FACES is unrelenting in its immediacy and brutal human interaction, as each character deals with their fragility and disappointment by lashing out at someone else. The film is regarded as the first American independent film to cross over to mainstream audiences; it was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor (Cassel) and Best Director.