Where Does It Happen? John Cassavetes and Cinema at the Breaking Point


"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' films consistently pose-specifically, where is the line between actor and character, fiction and reality, film and life?-George Kouvaros reveals the unique, and uniquely illuminating, position that Cassavetes' work occupies at the intersection of filmmaking and film theory.

Central to any understanding of Cassavetes' 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.

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

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Minneapolis
Publication year:
  • 2004


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