Faces was a 1968 movie, directed by John Cassavetes and starring John Marley, Cassavetes' wife Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel and Lynn Carlin, who both received Academy Award nominations for this film.
The movie, shot in cinéma vérité
-style, depicts the final stages of the disintegrated marriage of a middle-aged couple. In one night we are introduced to various groups and individuals the couple interacts with after a tense argument and the husband's statement of his desire for a divorce. Afterwards he spends the night in the company of brash businessmen and whores, the wife with her middle aged female friends and a young hippie they've picked up from a bar. The night proceeds as a series of tense conversations and confrontations occur, illustrating where the modern American lifestyle has failed to nourish the interests, love lives, and emotional/spiritual fulfillment of these characters. Nearly everyone we meet expresses deep dissatisfaction with their lives and also a resigned attitude to this malaise. The film offers little hope, only a suggestion that in this world merely understanding
that we're unhappy or dissatisfied is a revelation. The film was shot in high contrast 16 mm black and white film stock.
As is the case with several of Cassavetes' films, two different versions of this film are known to exist (though it was generally assumed that, after creating the general release print, Cassavetes destroyed the alternate versions). It was initially premiered in Toronto with a running time of 183 minutes, before Cassavetes' cut it down to 130 minutes. Though the 130-minute version is the general release version, a print of a longer version with a running time of 147 minutes was accidentally found by Ray Carney
, and was deposited at the Library of Congress. 17 minutes of this print was included in the Criterion
box set John Cassavetes: Five Films
, though Carney has said that there are numerous differences between the two films.