Monday, October 21, 2013

4 Years Ago - Cassavetes Appreciation

All apologies for my lack of enthusiasm lately. As a trick or treat (you decide), here's something I wrote four years ago that I never went back and finished. I present it now "as is" in the hopes that it might shame me into writing like I used to write when we first started this blogging madness.


Killing of a Chinese Bookie has occupied my mind for the several months since I first watched it.  It has set up camp and seems to have no intention of leaving.  Nor do I wish it to.  This is a welcome invasion.

Within a few days of watching the film, I stumbled upon a copy of the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus while at work.  One line caught my attention and lodged itself in my brain in the same far corners that Bookie had firmly established itself.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Glowing Furnace of Charity…

There are no better words to describe Cassavetes.  Glowing Furnace of Charity.  In his generous creativity, Cassavetes participates in a firestorm of grace, actively reflecting, through a glass darkly, the source of all creative energy.  There are dozens, if not hundreds, of other master film directors.  None are as firmly grounded in love as John Cassavetes.

Paul Schrader has written a book on “transcendental cinema.”  Schrader also wrote a negative review of Cassavetes’ Faces and seems to dislike Cassavetes in general.  I think I know why.  Cassavetes did not make Transcendental Cinema.  He created Incarnational Cinema.

Cassavetes’ films all evince a mature awareness that we’re more than just souls awaiting deliverance.  Our enfleshed bodies require redemption here and now.  Our goal should not be to move beyond being human, but to become fully human.

Cassavetes brings the Heart of infinite love to the finite folk of our specific time and place.

Some other directors have clearly shown us the dis-ease of modern life.  For all of his faults, I respect Michael Haneke, but he’s only shown us the evil.  He knows no way out.  Cassavetes’ art is concerned with the reconciliation of persons to one another through the purification that comes from passing through the furnace of charity.  In short, his art is love.

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