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Dare to Fail: Cassavetes at 90

Dare to Fail: Cassavetes at 90

“As an artist, I feel that we must try many things—but above all, we must dare to fail. You must have the courage to be bad—to be willing to risk everything to really express it all.” ―John Cassavetes

By 1957 John Cassavetes was already making waves in New York’s off-Broadway theater scene as a talented actor with non-conformist instincts.

He began teaching an acting workshop for other like-minded actors seeking an alternative to “the method”—and from this workshop emerged the radically innovative film SHADOWS (1959), now regarded as a cornerstone in the fundament of American New Wave cinema.

For nearly three decades Cassavetes invested in himself, determined to remain free from studio oversight. His unique interpretation of what constituted truth in cinema polarized critics and audiences. His supreme respect for performers and penchant for compelling characters inspired the loyalty of some of his generation’s most memorable faces and finest actors—perhaps the most notable being the consistent presence of his beloved wife, the gifted Gena Rowlands, without whom the Cassavetes canon collapses.

Cassavetes at 90 celebrates one of the leading agents of change in New American Cinema, while recognizing a few of the indelible contributions of the late, great actor Seymour Cassel.

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