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BFI announces The John Cassavetes Collection

Five films by American filmmaker John Cassavetes – the spiritual father of the independent film scene – will have their worldwide Blu-ray premiere this year, with the release of Dual Format Editions (containing DVD and Blu-ray discs) by the BFI.

The John Cassavetes Collection is launched on 23 April with his ground-breaking debut feature Shadows (1959) and his 1968 film Faces starring Gena Rowlands.

Shadows, Cassavetes’ first film, charts the doomed relationship between a young mixed-race woman Lelia (Lelia Goldoni) and Tony (Anthony Ray), a white man who betrays his prejudice when he meets Lelia’s brother, a struggling jazz singer. Shot on location with a cast and crew largely made up of amateurs Shadows features a swinging, improvised score by Charlie Mingus and Shafi Hadi, and is considered to be the first truly independent American film.

Features include:

  • Disc 1: BD25 / 1080p / 24fps / PCM mono audio (48k/24-bit)
  • Disc 2: DVD9 / PAL / Dolby Digital mono audio (320 kbps)
  • Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
  • English HOH subtitles
  • Audio commentary with actor Seymour Cassel and film critic Tom Charity
  • Falk on Cassavetes: the early years (DVD only, 13 mins): never-before-seen interview footage with Cassavetes’ friend and collaborator
  • 16 mm footage of John Cassavetes and Burt Lane’s acting workshop (DVD only, 4 mins)
  • Original theatrical trailer (DVD only, 4 mins)
  • 32-page illustrated booklet featuring new essays and notes from Michael Atkinson, Brian Morton and Tom Charity

In Faces, which is shot in searing, high-contrast black and white 16mm, Cassavetes dissects the suffocating world of middle-class Los Angeles where hollow laughter and drunken frivolities mask loneliness and social alienation. Nominated for 3 Oscars® – an unheard-of achievement for an independent film at the time – Faces employs a freewheeling, realist approach, and showcases some of the finest performances ever seen in American cinema.

Features include:

  • Disc 1: BD25 / 1080p / 24fps / PCM mono audio (48k/24-bit)
  • Disc 2: DVD9 / PAL / Dolby Digital mono audio (320 kbps)
  • Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
  • English HOH subtitles
  • Alternative opening sequence (DVD only, 20 mins)
  • Alternative opening sequence audio commentary (DVD only, 20 mins): Peter Bogdanovich and Al Ruban discuss an earlier cut of Faces
  • Seymour Cassel interviewed by Tom Charity (DVD only, 47 mins)
  • 32-page illustrated booklet featuring interviews and new essays from Tom Charity
    and Al Ruban

John Cassavetes’ three mid-1970s features A Woman Under the Influence (1974), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) and Opening Night (1977) will be released in Dual Format Editions later in 2012.

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