Friday, July 13, 2007


Zoe Cassavetes' great first film, Broken English, is playing now at the Ritz At the Bourse. Starring Parker Posey as a single New Yorker with a miserable love life -- and co-starring Justin Theroux as a Hollywood actor, Drea De Matteo as Posey's best pal, Gena Rowlands as Parker's mom and Melvil Poupaud as a Frenchie who may or may not be Monsieur Right -- it's a smartly observed take on the trials and tribulations of romance.

Cassavetes, 37, who divides her time -- much like Broken English -- between New York and Paris, was in town not long ago. She talked about the work written, directed and acted in by her father, John Cassavetes: a legacy of raw, improv-y 1970s and 1980s indies that includes Faces, Husbands, Woman Under the Influence, Love Streams. Some were shot in the family house, with little Zoe running around playing with castmembers between takes. And she discussed her mother, Gena Rowland, and Rowland's work in her dad's pics.

"What’s really amazing is that the older I get, and more life experience I have, that I can relate to these movies and understand them more," she says. "Because they’re totally adult movies, in their mentality, the examination of people, and their interactions.... Every time I watch them, every couple of years, I think, Jesus Christ, this guy was so completely focused on what he was doing, and so smart, and so deep, and understood women so well, in such a complex way. And even talking to my mom about it, she’ll say I don’t understand how he knew that, but he really did, and he really felt it.... Not to take anything away from my mother, because she really just took those roles and ran with them."

"I love all of them for different reasons, but I love Opening Night. It's so sad and glamorous at the same time, and I love the kind of mystical thing about the ghost of that girl. And the comedy, and the play within the movie. It has an All About Eve kind of feeling... But I also enjoy something like Minnie and Moskowitz, which is a very pure and simple story. Not on the same level as my movie, but there’s something similar going on. And you know, I love Husbands, and I love The Killing of the Chinese Bookie — that one is like the most beautifully shot movie I’ve ever seen.

"And I love Love Streams, but Love Streams really kills me because it’s the last movie that he made. [John Cassavetes died in 1989, of cirrhosis of the liver.] I can see the sickness in him. I was 12 or something when they made that movie, so it’s my most recent memory… there’s hardly a time when [I'm] not crying, or feeling very tense.

"But I’m so proud to be able to look at that body of work and think that I might have some trickle-down genes."


Blogger Brantley said...

Broken English was rubbish. A naive attempt, taking a shallow deep look at contemporary relationships.

6:58 PM  

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