A Pre-Valentines Treat: Cassavetes' LOVE STREAMS screening (free!)

Part of THE COLLOQUIUM FOR UNPOPULAR CULTURE: THE SPEED OF YOUR HAIR (A series on love)

“You eat,” Luke said, “at the speed of your hair.”

“What does that mean?” said Nicole.

It took an effort of will not to say, “It means I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  I want to be with you when you are old, when your hair is grey…”  What he actually said was: “I don’t know.  It just seems true.”  His plate was empty.  He watched her eat, looked at her hair.  He is in love with me, Nicole said to herself.  She looked up again.  Their eyes met.  It felt as if they were kissing.  Luke poured another glass of wine for himself.

“Gulp,” she said, touching his hand.  “Gulp.”

Love Streams (1984)

LOVE STREAMS (dir. John Cassavetes, 1984)

WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday 9 February 2010 WHERE: Room 471, 20 Cooper Square (Bowery and East 5th) ALL WELCOME.  Refreshments – stiff, copious - provided.

“Making a film has been compared, by many good directors, to a love affair.  What hasn’t been said is that this film, the recipient of the love, is the victim of an organized orgy.” (Cassavetes)

LOVE STREAMS is John Cassavetes’s last film.  He made it as he was dying of cirrhosis of the liver.  Critically disavowed, yanked off screens after just a few weeks, only briefly available on video in the States, it’s the story of the close relationship between Robert, a feckless lush (played by Cassavetes) who’s “writing a book on night life”, and Sarah (Cassavetes’s real-life wife Gena Rowlands), who describes herself as a “very happy person”.  Both are alive, lonely, lost.  Both, in their different ways, are quietly howling with grief.  Then comes the goat.

John Cassavetes’s films, Jim Jarmusch has written, are about “love, about trust and mistrust, about isolation, joy, sadness, ecstasy and stupidity”.  For that reason, their stylistic distinctiveness, and for their fierce and galvanic independence, they’ve long been touchstones for equally fierce, equally galvanic directors such as Claire Denis, Olivier Assayas and Pedro Almodovar.  LOVE STREAMS, in its rawness and desperation, its wild-eyed confrontation with human isolation and need, is hard to watch and equally hard to look away from.

LOVE STREAMS will be presented by Kevin B. Lee, a critic, filmmaker, and programming executive for dGenerate Films, a digital distribution channel for Chinese independent films. He contributes to ‘Time Out New York’, ‘Cineaste’, ‘The Moving Image Source’, and his blog Shooting Down Pictures, among other publications.