Stylistically anticipating French New Wave, I place it somewhere on-pair with Chabrol's "Les Cousins", expressing a more grim New York setting apart from it's intellectual french counterpart. Less convincing as a figurative piece, but as significant nonetheless, given that much of it's expression can be seen in works of Scorsese ("Taxi Driver" as an obvious one) or Woody Allen.
I can see its importance and the affect it must have had back in its time, but independent cinema would be much better made later, often by Cassavetes himself. This isn't to say it feels aged, it actually very much seems ahead of it's time, and remarkably fresh. An important film in it's vision, but a scratchy and unfinished piece of work, feeling like its lacking some part of it, not quite whole.
"This film was an improvisation", we're told, which isn't really true, but art is built on such bluffing. Today, it's a film we value more for what it does than for how well it does it: the new freedoms of editing, acting, and subject matter are all here, waiting for someone to take them even higher. But I'd note that in that same year, Sirk tackled similar subject matter in a classical style. And it was better.
Inspiring piece of filmmaking that is everything but improvised. If it looks improvised, it is because it follows life as improvisation, a flowing, changeable existence devoid of the resolutions and explanations that scripted cinema often bestows upon it. There are almost no clear conclusions to be drawn from this film. A challenging but rewarding experience.
At first watch I struggled to orient myself, so at the end I went right back and watched it again. I got so much more. Every line of dialogue is laden with something useful; efficient and foreshadowing. Lelia is haughtier than is legal, and completely compelling. I envied the relationship between these siblings, who thrive from party to party, quietly dealing with the threat of not fitting in, which lurks in between.
Yeah nice little movie but not all that people make it up to be let's get down to earth here. Unless someone can show me some angle I haven't seen myself? Sensitive subject matter, nice score and it all flowed quite naturally. See it as a prologue to Cassavetes later works. See it to track his evolution and gather some context on him as a director.
Brilliant. A stupendous achievement. It bursts and bristles with passionate emotions, sincere ideas, and it clamors at the society which gave birth to it. A remarkable "slice of life" drama that sounds off on love, anger, racism, art, friendship, family, identity, and youth all at once. Cassavetes was a genius. And there aren't many film geniuses.