Accidental Genius: How John Cassavetes Invented the Independent Film

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9781401360139: Accidental Genius: How John Cassavetes Invented the Independent Film

In the world of independent filmmaking, John Cassavetes became the prototypical outsider fighting the system for much of his career. A major star of live television and a serious actor, he stumbled into making his first film, Shadows, and created a template for working outside the Hollywood system that would produce some of the most piercing and human films of the last thirty years including A Women Under the Influence and Husbands.

Film critic Marshall Fine has been hailed by the New York Times for this "first full life of Cassavetes." The Minneapolis Star Tribune said, "Accidental Genius is as thoroughly researched as an academic study but reads like a pop biography minus the fawning." Fine reveals the passion and singularity that characterized Cassavetes and his lasting influence on filmmaking.

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About the Author:

Marshall Fine is the author of Bloody Sam: The Life and Films of Sam Peckinpah and Harvey Keitel: The Art of Darkness. He is the film and television critic for Star magazine. He lives in Ossining, NY.

From Publishers Weekly:

To most film junkies, the late actor and director John Cassavetes (Faces, A Woman Under the Influence) is an independent film icon. To everyone else, he's either the evil husband in Rosemary's Baby or the guy who directed wife Gena Rowlands in Gloria. And that is Fine's motivation: "I wanted to write the book that I longed to read...the one that explained to a mainstream audience why they should know and care about the work of John Cassavetes." The good news is, the book is not an impenetrable academic tome. Rather than engage in esoteric film criticism, Fine gives us a blow-by-blow account of how Cassavetes's fierce will led to the birth of independent film. The director's desire to go against the grain is highlighted throughout, such as when he told higher ups at the Actors Studio: "Screw you. I don't want any part of you. I've got my own school and I'll drive yours out of town." For a Cassavetes devotee, this is manna. But if Fine's goal is to convert the uninitiated, he's missed the mark by taking it for granted that the reader will be as enamored of his subject as he is. And Fine's fetishistic description of every Cassavetes project progresses at a merciless grind so tedious that the merely curious would do better to rent a Cassavetes film.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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