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Where Does It Happen?

John Cassavetes and Cinema at the Breaking Point

2004
Author:

George Kouvaros

Where Does It Happen?

Establishes the critical place in film history of maverick filmmaker Cassavetes

George Kouvaros reveals the unique and illuminating position that John Cassavetes’s work occupies at the intersection of filmmaking and film theory. A major reassessment of the filmmaker as a formal experimenter, Where Does It Happen? gives Cassavetes his due as a filmmaker whose critical place in the modern cinema is only now becoming clear.

The films of Cassavetes afford Kouvaros (U. of New South Wales, Australia) an opportunity to riff as much on auteurism and film theory as on the governing impulses that drive the American filmmaker. Central to the understanding of Cassavetes’s work, Kouvaros writes, is the issue of performance. Looking at the work of Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, and Cassavetes himself in films including A Woman Under the Influence and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Kouvaros shows how performative instance (gestures, words, glances) open up intimations of dramas that belong neither to the films nor to the everyday worlds they are immersed in.

Book News Inc.

“A good movie,” John Cassavetes has remarked, “will ask you questions you don’t already know the answers to.” And in his films, Cassavetes is as good as his word. Taking up the radical question that Cassavetes’s films consistently pose—specifically, where is the line between actor and character, fiction and reality, film and life? George Kouvaros reveals the unique and illuminating position that Cassavetes’s work occupies at the intersection of filmmaking and film theory.

Central to any understanding of Cassavetes’s achievement is the issue of performance. Looking at the work of Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, and Cassavetes himself in films such as Faces, A Woman under the Influence, and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Kouvaros shows how performative instances—gestures, words, or glances—open up intimations of dramas belonging neither strictly to these films nor to the everyday worlds in which they are immersed.

A major reassessment of the filmmaker as a formal experimenter, Where Does It Happen? gives Cassavetes his due as a filmmaker whose critical place in the modern cinema is only now becoming clear.

Where Does It Happen?

George Kouvaros is senior lecturer in the School of Theatre, Film, and Dance at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Where Does It Happen?

The films of Cassavetes afford Kouvaros (U. of New South Wales, Australia) an opportunity to riff as much on auteurism and film theory as on the governing impulses that drive the American filmmaker. Central to the understanding of Cassavetes’s work, Kouvaros writes, is the issue of performance. Looking at the work of Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, and Cassavetes himself in films including A Woman Under the Influence and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Kouvaros shows how performative instance (gestures, words, glances) open up intimations of dramas that belong neither to the films nor to the everyday worlds they are immersed in.

Book News Inc.

Where Does It Happen? is written in an accessible, readable style, and Kouvaros demonstrates a thorough mastery of the subject matter and relevant secondary materials. Every page sparkles with insights and provocative observations. This is undoubtedly an important book about a crucial figure in the history of the American cinema.

Film Quarterly