It’s easy to throw around the phrase “godfather of independent cinema,” but actor-turned-director John Cassavetes earned it with his sweat and blood. His move out of the Hollywood system is the stuff of film history legend, and he set a powerful example, showing just how much a rogue, impassioned filmmaker could accomplish. Between Faces in 1968 and his death from cirrhosis in 1989, Cassavetes directly a series of visceral, highly personal dramas that still feel caustic, and fresh. Forged through sacrifice and suffering, his films contain some of the greatest performances you’re likely to see.
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