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Operation Condor was at its peak in Chilean exiles in Argentina were threatened again, and again had to go underground or into exile. President Gerald Ford publicly admitted in that the C. The cable suggests that the assassination of the Chilean Ambassador to the United States, Orlando Letelier, may have been carried out as an action of Operation Condor. A long document dated 21 January provides a summary of information concerning D.
This report includes information not directly provided to the F. From onwards, D. Three years after destroying democracy by instigating the military coup against Allende in Chile inKissinger was in Santiago for a meeting of the Organisation of American States.
It cannot do us any good. Ambassador White feared that the U. Some of the exchange of information included up-date on torture techniques — waterboarding, for example, which was to be made infamous by the Bush Junior Administration, and playing recordings of victims who were being tortured to their families.
The existence of such an exchange is another element of evidence suggesting that U. The document which had so much worried Ambassador White was found among 16, on the Pinochet regime and its collaboration with the American Administration released on 13 November by the White House, the Department of State, the C. In May of the C.
At the time, the F. A, as responsible for the crime. Under United States pressure, in Contreras was tried and convicted in Chile. In June the U. State Department released thousands of declassified documents showing for the first time that the C. The records, estimated to total more than 5, in number, were declassified pursuant to the 1 February White House directive. Thousands of other records were expected to be released before the end of He pointed to the dearth of documentation on the C.
On 8 October the U. Government released additional 1, documents on Chile. Among them was a declassified State Department report on the case of Charles Horman, the American citizen who was killed by the Chilean military in the days following the coup. This document was released once before inpursuant to a lawsuit filed by the Horman family. At that time, significant portions were blacked-out.
On 30 June the U. Government released hundreds of formerly secret C. Documents on another American, Boris Weisfiler, who disappeared in Chile inwere also released. The United States provided material support to the military regime after the coupalthough criticising it in public.
A document released by the C. Chief Manuel Contreras was a paid asset from to The National Security Archive called on the U. Southern Command — to divulge in full their files on communications assistance to the military regimes in the Southern Cone.
The Archive is still waiting, but C. Kissinger remains a very much sought after person: as will be seen further on, French Judge Roger Le Loire attempted to question him in May as a witness for alleged U.
An official condemned the Chilean Supreme Court decision to send questions to Kissinger, saying the move increased unease about the then proposed International Criminal Court in The Hague. The danger of the ICC is that, one day, US citizens might face arrest abroad and prosecution as a result of such politically motivated antics.
Hardly any request has been successful because of the protection afforded by all United States presidents and their administrations to Kissinger. In addition to the work with his consulting firm, Kissinger Associates Inc.
Other account holders included the Medellin drug Cartel and Abu Nidal. These bank accounts were used for a variety of illegal covert operations, including transfers of money and weapons related to the Iran Contra scandal. During the Reagan Administration the C. At least two former C. Friendly Fascism? Former U. Congressman Edward Koch became aware in of relations between s threats on his life and Operation Condor.
Christian-Democrat and former President of Chile from to Eduardo Frei might have been poisoned in the early s. The event generated international outrage which almost led to the breaking of diplomatic relations between Sweden and Argentina. On 30 July he was arrested by the D. Erika was transferred to other detention centres and then expelled to France with their daughter Natalia.
Arrested on two occasions inhe remained in detention for one year. On his release he was taken to the French Embassy and put on a flight to France. From France, Claudet helped to set up a M. He went to Buenos Aires on 30 October He was arrested on 1 November by agents of the Argentine secret police S.
He was by the side of Allende when La Moneda was bombed. Evidence collected during the investigation of the case relates that he might have been taken to the Peldehue grounds, Endiche Vis.Sat - His Closed Eyes (Cassette) he was killed by machine gun fire. He was arrested there on 12 September, released and rearrested on 19 September Gelman survived to seek redress from Spanish justice.
According to C. He and his wife were later severely injured by gunshots while in exile in Rome. Pinochet will be personally indicted in this case. The international prosecutions of human rights crimes of the military governments of the Southern Cone began inwith cases brought in Spain, Argentina, Italy, and Chile against the leaders of Operation Condor. The foremost example is the Spanish case against Pinochet starting in In Argentina the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, formed inbegan investigating Condor-related human rights abuses.
This ushered in the heyday of international justice. The Pinochet case inspired victims of abuse throughout Latin America to challenge transitions from dictatorship which allowed the perpetrators of atrocities to go unpunished. Pinochet was arrested on 16 October. This was no rash decision; it was the logical result of at least two years of painstaking investigation in Spain into both the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships. Another judge before him had been exposed and had yielded to pressure from political, military and business circles, and placed the case aside.
Based in Santiago, Operation Condor had worked closely with the D. The Rettig Commission had strengthened the basis for the warrant, marking an unprecedented use of universal jurisdiction to attempt to try a former dictator for an international crime. Pinochet would be held under house arrest for seventeen months in London, pending a decision on his extradition to Spain, until Marchwhen the Home Secretary of the Blair Government decided to release him on the ground that the dictator was deemed unfit to stand trial.
For seventeen months a battle would be hard-fought through the English legal system. Meanwhile the Chilean Government protested at the arrest. In so ordering he said to have had regard to such relevant considerations as the health of Pinochet, the passage of time since the commission of the acts and the political stability of Chile. But things did no proceed that smoothly.
There was a glitch. Lord Hoffman who had voted with the majority was known as a strong supporter of Amnesty International, and this was considered as a possible stain on the judgment. Dramatically, on 17 December the Appeals Committee of the House of Endiche Vis.Sat - His Closed Eyes (Cassette) reconsidered the decision and decided that, in the interest of transparency in justice, it was proper to set aside its prior judgment and to grant a re-hearing of the case.
A new hearing before a panel of seven Law Lords was scheduled for 24 March At the same time, however, the F. In the meantime the Chilean Government requested the release of the former dictator on the basis of various legal arguments, and stated the wish to have him returned to Chile for trial before the Chilean courts following complaints lodged against him there.
This Mission worked in Santiago from 3 to 10 March It was composed of Messrs. The Mission found various obstacles to bringing a legal case against Pinochet : 1 Decree Law of 19 April granting amnesty for acts occurring from 11 September to 10 Marchthe period in which the most serious crimes were committed by the Chilean dictatorship, 2 a full interpretation of constitutional and legal texts giving jurisdiction to military courts over civil courts, 3 the immunity enjoyed by Pinochet as Senator for life, appointed under Art.
There was no evidence which would allow the Mission to anticipate the removal of these obstacles to allow prosecution of Pinochet. These were mainly convictions of low-level officers.
Certainly these obstacles could be formally removed, but the Constitution then in force, drawn up in by Pinochet himself, conferred a primary role on the Senate, in view of its power to nominate Supreme Court judges and to lift the immunity of Pinochet. On 24 March the House of Lords rendered its final decision on the case.
By a vote of six to one it was held that Pinochet was not entitled to absolute immunity, but only as from 8 December and only with respect to some charge as brought by Spain. The judgment held that before that date Pinochet had immunity from legal proceedings in English courts. A narrow view of an international treaty signed and ratified by several countries, including Britain, Chile and Spain, was the ground for the decision. This invalidated most, but not all, of the charges against Pinochet; but the outcome was that extradition could proceed.
These judgments are historic and constituted a new step forward in the evolution of international criminal law and the exercise of universal jurisdiction. The decision confirmed the advance of International Law in the fight against impunity and responded to the requirement of justice for victims.
Nevertheless, the F. Bush called upon the British Government to release Pinochet. They urged that Pinochet be allowed to return to his homeland rather than be forced to go to Spain.
Previously, they had argued that Pinochet did not have state immunity because crimes against humanity could not be regarded as the actions of a head of state; only actions of the state brought immunity with them.
Since this was an argument based on the scope of immunity as such, this judgment said in effect that any former head of state lost their immunity once they engaged in crimes against humanity. Now, however, the restriction of immunity was argued for in a more clearly legally grounded way, by explicit reference to an international treaty signed, ratified and — in theory — made effective by, among others, Britain, Chile and Spain.
It followed that immunity was not recognised from crimes covered by the United Nations Convention Against Torture when the convention came into effect in Britain on 8 December Pinochet had immunity before that date but no immunity after. Therefore, most of the charges brought by Spain could not be of consequence in British courts for the extradition of Pinochet.
Only two of the charges could be considered: one of torture and another of conspiracy to torture. The ruling on the basis of which Straw had issued his first Authority had now been overruled, and therefore he would have to consider the case afresh. He proffered 43 additional charges of torture and conspiracy to torture which had taken place after 8 December The Law Lords adjourned the hearings to 15 April on both requests to give time to the Home Secretary to reconsider his position.
They could have made another, similar application, but on 7 June the defence team decided against this. Extradition proceedings would finally commence. So his lawyers, citing frail and deteriorating health, asked that Pinochet be released. As evidence, they provided a report from a medical examination — done without the presence of physicians called by the prosecution and without the appropriate neurological, gerontological, and psychiatric specialists.
On 5 November the Home Secretary requested that Pinochet submit himself to independent medical tests to ascertain whether in fact he was as ill as he claimed to be. No specific details had been provided at this point, nor was the prosecution provided with a copy of any report. After some medical tests, the Home Secretary ruled in January that Pinochet should not be extradited.
For the first time several European judges had applied the principle of universal jurisdiction, declaring themselves competent to judge crimes committed by former heads of state, despite local amnesty laws. On 12 January the F. Furthermore, it should be up to the courts and not a political official to decide whether Augusto Pinochet is fit to undergo trial on torture and crimes against humanity. Despite all that, the Home Secretary decided to release Pinochet on the ground that, according to the examination, the defendant had suffered two small strokes and would be unable adequately to manage his defence.
The prosecution made a predictably vigorous appeal, asking that it also be allowed to examine the defendant. The secrecy surrounding the examination itself, and the ambiguity of the findings, tainted the proceedings, which appeared simply to collapse under political pressure. On 3 March Pinochet flew back to Chile. While in London, he was always photographed sitting weakly in his wheelchair; on the tarmac in Santiago, he spontaneously rose to his feet, and walked to his supporters, without even using his cane.
In exchange, it required him to resign from his seat of senator-for-life. Of the legislators, voted for, and 29 — mostly, if not all, from the Left — against. The Caravan of death was a Chilean Army death squad which, following the coupflew by helicopter from south to north of Chile between 30 September and 22 October But ten days later the procedure was suspended by the Court of Appeal of Santiago for medical reasons.
Beside the Caravan of death, other complaints had been filed against Pinochet. However, the judicial procedure was again suspended on 9 July because of alleged ill-health reasons. Pinochet would spend the last four years of his life in the indignity of pleading, maybe simulating, dementia and the sadness of suffering from it. Thereafter, he tried to live quietly — or so he hoped, rarely made public appearances and was notably absent from the events marking the 30th commemorations of the coup on 11 September But on 28 May the Court of Appeals overturned its precedent decision, and ruled that he was capable of standing trial.
In arguing their case, the prosecution submitted a recent televised interview that Pinochet had given for a Miami-based television network, which raised doubts about his alleged mental incapacity. Pinochet was charged with several crimes on 2 December of that year — including the assassination of General Prats, and the Operation Colombo case which cost lives — and was again placed under house arrest. Questioned by his judges in order to know if, as President, he was the direct head of D.
And if it were true, I do not remember. In January the Chilean Army accepted institutional responsibility for past human rights abuses. In the Operation Colombo case, involving the killing of dissidents, the Supreme Court decided on 14 September to strip Pinochet of his immunity.
The following day he was acquitted of the human rights case due to his ill-health. On 26 September the Inter-American Court, in the case of Almonacid Arellano confirmed the incompatibility between the amnesty decree and the American Convention of Human Rights and therefore decided that the amnesty had no legal effect.
Furthermore, Pinochet was indicted in October for the assassination of D. Still charged of a number of crimes, Pinochet died on 10 December — ironically on Human Rights Declaration Day, possibly demented, possibly unable to distinguish the time when he was pray of dementia from that when he found it convenient to simulate it, possibly unconscious, hence un-haunted by his crimes, and anyway without having been convicted in any case, at least in life.
At the end of Pinochet will be tried in absentia with 14 other Chilean officers before a French court. Isabelle Ropert filed the first complaint on behalf of her brother, Enrique Ropert, who was arrested on 11 September in front of La Moneda and then found dead on 20 October at the Santiago morgue.
The limited mandate of those organisations and the impossibility for many victims to appeal to them due to their feeling of insecurity, especially at the beginning of the s, and their restrictive mandates, have consequently left hundreds of victims unidentified. In February the so-called Rettig and Valech Commissions were reinstated for a very brief period to enable new victims to make themselves known during a six month period and thus benefit from certain reparation measures.
The intention of these Truth Commissions was not to establish individual responsibility, nor to render justice. The trial in France also permitted proceedings to be brought again in Chile. By the end of the dictatorship in it had been possible to file only a few complaints and these had been discontinued through almost automatic application of the amnesty law.
Two months later there were nearly and, when he died on 10 Decembernever having been tried, there were more thanespecially for enforced disappearance, torture, sequestration of children and aggravated homicide.
In special first instance judges were appointed to investigate these complaints, which have continuously increased since Some of these judges have done considerable work which has permitted the truth about the crimes committed to be revealed that some of them have qualified as crimes against humanity on the basis of international treaty and customary law. To date in Chile not even persons have been sentenced for crimes against humanity committed during the dictatorship, and no more than 53 have been gaoled or are under house arrest.
Slightly over proceedings were still under way and of the less than persons who are the subject of proceedings, no more than 56 are civilians. The Chilean Supreme Court no longer applies the amnesty law, even though it is still on the statute book. Taking into consideration the length of time since the events and the current behaviour of the perpetrators of the crimes being tried, in very many cases this rule results in those found guilty walking away free as soon as the verdict is rendered.
In addition justice is very slow: 65 per cent of the ongoing proceedings — often after the proceedings have lasted more than ten years — are still at the preliminary stage.
Very few of the civilian leaders under the dictatorship are concerned about justice. The Chilean legal system is confronted with echoes of the structure of impunity created by Pinochet and his followers in preparation for the transition. None of the proceedings in Chile concerned those accused of acts committed against the four Franco-Chilean victims.
The trial about to take place in Paris was without precedent. By intervening as a civil party in a criminal trial, a party who was not directly the victim of the crime lodges a claim for damages. Such party may take part in the trial, adducing witnesses, submitting evidence, statements and expert opinions.
As previously noted, the investigation of the case had been opened by Judge Roger Le Loire on 30 October He was the judge who had attempted to question Kissinger in May as a witness for alleged U.
France issued international arrest warrants against 19 persons, including Pinochet. Initially, according to a 12 February announcement by the F. It was postponed. Four of the listed defendants had died before the trial could begin. All the others were aged between 59 and In the absence of an extradition treaty between Paris and Santiago, France was not in a position to force the presence of the defendants.
None was present at the trial, although they were summoned by the Court. They were entitled to be represented by a lawyer in application of the in absentia procedure, but all refused. All 14 of the living defendants were tried in absentiamaking the case highly symbolic. He had married Erika Hennings with whom he had a daughter, Natalia. On 30 July Chanfreau was arrested at his home by D.
On his release he was immediately taken to the French Embassy and put on a flight to France. He went to Buenos Aires on 30 Octoberwith microfilms in his possession.
He was arrested on 1 November by agents of S. He was married to Alice Vera Fausto; they had one daughter, Vanessa. He had been active in the Socialist Party, and then in the Communist Party. Like other defenders of the Palace, he was taken prisoner on the same day and driven by bus, with around forty other persons, to the Tacna Regiment — a land army artillery regiment.
When they arrived, the 40 prisoners were taken to the stables and ordered to lie on their stomachs with their legs spread and their hands behind their neck until the following day. According to several witnesses, the prisoners were subjected to ill treatment during their transfer and at the Tacna regiment: beaten violently, forced to remain immobile in the cold, deprived of food and water, threatened with death. Evidence collected during the investigation relates that he might have been taken to the Peldehue grounds, where he was killed by machine gun fire on the orders of Major Rafael Ahumada Valderrama.
Pesle was in charge of land reform at the Institute for the Development of Agriculture and Fishing in Temuco. The Institute, the goals of which were in line with the policy defined by President Allende, was to redistribute lands to the poor peasants and especially to the Mapuche peasants in the Temuco region.
He was first arrested on 12 Septemberthen release, and then re-arrested on 19 September at his workplace by soldiers wearing the Chilean Air Force uniform, including Emilio Sandoval Poo, a reserve officer. The group was commanded by Miguel Manriquez, a civilian pilot and landowner against whom Pesle had led expropriation operations which benefited the Mapuche Indians. There is consistent evidence that he was taken to Maquehue, the air force base south of Temuco, where torture was systematically used and also applied by civilians.
Some persons reported that he was killed and that his body was thrown into the sea from the private airplane of Miguel Manriquez. Pinochet is dead, but this trial of the dictator, albeit posthumous, is the only trial of the whole system of repression that he established. The current trial, because of the nature of the crimes, not eligible for statute of limitation, transcends borders and contributes to the fight against impunity worldwide.
It is now expected that the truth which will come out of this trial will be heard in Chile and will facilitate recognition of the realities of these crimes which are still far too little known. The trial opened as planned on 8 December The trial was of historic value in several respects. Beyond recognition of the individual responsibility of the accused, the trial would be the opportunity to establish and punish the system of repression set up and operated by the Pinochet dictatorship which reigned in Chile from to Furthermore, proceedings were connected to significant events at the start of the dictatorship which would throw light on the way it functioned and make its modus operandi perfectly clear: — the bombing of La Moneda and the arrest of the advisers of Salvador Allende; — the systematic repression of opponents — amongst whom were activists of the Revolutionary Left-wing movement, M.
This trial saw a number of witnesses who travelled from Chile to appear beside the plaintiff families. Hoping for justice, the wives, children and brothers and sisters of the four men who vanished between and attended the trial from its beginning on 8 December. One defendant, year-old Gen. For the first time in the history of Chile, the legal system of another country would come to identify and punish acts committed by these perpetrators.
Families of the victims nevertheless took heart in the convictions more than 30 years after the four disappeared. Applause broke out in the court room among families of the victims after the reading of the verdicts.
They were in air force uniform. That is how he disappeared. I am now 37, so it is an entire life without the right to justice. I would like to know where [my father] is, and of course I would also like [the guilty] to be in prison … but for the moment, I am really happy. More than 30 years after the adoption by the U.
The Convention recognises in particular the right to information, the right to know the truth, the right to justice and the right to reparation. The Convention places an obligation on State parties to take measures to prosecute the perpetrators of this crime when they are present on their territories, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, irrespective of the nationality of the victims and the alleged perpetrators, as well the country where the crime was committed.
Finally, the Convention sets up a Committee which will monitor implementation by State parties. On 11 Septemberthe 40 th anniversary of the coupthe National Security Archive released thousands of documents which belong to the Chile Documentation Project directed by Peter Kornbluh, author of several books on the presence of the United States in Latin America. Ten of those documents were posted on the same day.
The new documents provide key details about the arguments, decisions, and operations Kissinger made and supervised during his tenure as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State. During the conversation Kissinger tells Nixon that the U. Several of the other documents posted on 11 September had appeared for the first time in the original edition.
Their conversation took place three days before President Nixon, in a minute meeting which included Kissinger, ordered the C. Document 1, Telcon, Helms — Kissinger, 12 Septembernoon. Kissinger ignored a recommendation from his top deputy on the National Security Council, Viron Vaky, who strongly advised against covert action to undermine Allende. Is Allende a mortal threat to the U. Consider this, you that are here present, that yet remain in an unregenerate state. That God will execute the fierceness of his anger, implies, that he will inflict wrath without any pity.
When God beholds the ineffable extremity of your case, and sees your torment to be so vastly disproportioned to your strength, and sees how your poor soul is crushed, and sinks down, as it were, into an infinite gloom; he will have no compassion upon you, he will not forbear the executions of his wrath, or in the least lighten his hand; there shall be no moderation or mercy, nor will God then at all stay his rough wind; he will have no regard to your welfare, nor be at all careful lest you should suffer too much in any other sense, than only that you shall not suffer beyond what strict justice requires.
Nothing shall be withheld, because it is so hard for you to bear. But when once the day of mercy is past, your most lamentable and dolorous cries and shrieks will be in vain; you will be wholly lost and thrown away of God, as to any regard to your welfare. God will have no other use to put you to, but to suffer misery; you shall be continued in being to no other end; for you will be a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction; and there will be no other use of this vessel, but to be filled full of wrath.
How awful are those words, Isa. Tags black metal blackgaze metal ambient ambient black metal dark ambient post-metal post-rock United States. Ancestral Kingdoms Remastered. People would either love it or hate it. However, the average person also would not just pick up a film directed by John Cassavetes.
They might love him in "The Dirty Dozen" or "Rosemary's Baby"--but these are his commercial projects and ones in which he only acted. His own films are very personal and don't even attempt to be commercial but are artsy and often about topics that aren't all that marketable. The bottom line is that he did films he loved to make and didn't seem to care if the public embraced them--at least that's the perception most people 'in the know' have of his movies. This film appears to have been shot with a cheap non-professional camera and the print is very grainy.
As far and the acting and script goes, it looks like a movie made by friends after they had a few drinks--they appear to think they are quite clever.
As I said, it does not appear to be yet another Hollywood type of film! Now the film does have a few professional actors in it--with Cassavetes' own wife Gena Rowlands and John Marley starring in the movie. Most of the rest are mostly unknowns--and I have no idea if they were professional actors or just acquaintances of Cassavetes.
While I like some French New Wave films, some absurdist films and and even some experimental and Dogma 95 films, I really did not enjoy this particular film. While I am not at all a typical viewer, I clearly don't fall into the very small but wildly enthusiastic crowd of Cassavetes fans.
I just found it all to be cheap and pretentious To each his or her own. This movie is the epitome of brilliantly dramatic character study: It's so phenomenal, watching it is excruciating.
Cassavetes takes us deep inside the lives of a bored, shallow upper-middle-class couple, and as his skilled actors improvise remarkably realistic scenes, down to the smallest mannerism of their characters, Cassavetes forces us to watch every knife-twisting second.
It's difficult: Rather than watching an unpleasant situation, then getting pulled away by an editor's cut, we have to sit through all 20 or 25 minutes of a scene that makes us squirm, whether it's a middle-aged man making an ass of himself to impress a young prostitute or his wife feigning laughter to make a young man think she's having fun with him.
While not the best movie I've ever seen, it's unique: A great work to whose style nothing else compares. This is obviously not your average, everyday movie. It's some thing you could only watch at an art-house theater, so clearly this movie is not for just everyone. John Cassavetes was a sort of guerrilla film-maker. His movies never felt like it had any storyboards or were rehearsed in any way.
There was never a pre-setup plan, concerning any of its camera-work or positions and the actors all also seemed to be ad-libbing at points. They were just simply shooting away, which gives the movie a very raw and Endiche Vis.Sat - His Closed Eyes (Cassette) feeling.
I think this is the foremost reason why people really like his movies. I myself can appreciate it but that doesn't mean I'm that fond or impressed with it as well. No, it's not really an easy or pleasant movie to watch. It's because the story is not really following a clear main plot line and things just seem to happen very randomly. I just simply prefer a more clear and straightforward story, since it also seemed to me that because of Cassavetes' approach, some of the sequences seemed to go on for ever and often weren't making that much sense for the story either.
I can still understand the story and what Cassavetes was trying to do and tell with it. It's basically a look into married life and not about any of Endiche Vis.Sat - His Closed Eyes (Cassette) peachy or happy aspects. But however, like I mentioned before, I would had been more taken by it and probably would had find the story to be a more interesting one, if it had a more straightforward story and approach to it.
But yet I never hated watching this movie either. I can still definitely appreciate the way it got made and also all of the actors were a joy to watch. The movie really has some fine actors in it and I was especially fond of John Marley's performance. It were however Lynn Carlin and Seymour Cassel who received an Oscar nomination for their roles in this move. Actually it seems quite amazing to me how this movie managed to score 3 Oscar nominations, since it's such an artistic movie, that normally would hardly get ever noticed or recognized by any of the big award shows.
It perhaps says something about the popularity or status of director and writer John Cassavetes at the time or how people looked at movies. For most people this movie will probably be too tough to bite through, or it simply won't be interesting enough to sit through but there is still a large crowd for these sort of movies out there. So if it sounds like it's your thing, chances are you'll probably end up loving it.
Quinoa 25 March Faces is a torrid story of what people do when they're in fractured relationships, and, really, what a lot of lives are really like out there. What Faces offers just on its own as a character based drama is almost enough to see what the director is all about.
No big budget, no fake sets, just people on the screen who have real personalities and histories with each other, and conflicts that are given enough light to get an idea of what they're about.
But what is given, shot in a grainy 16mm feel by Cassavetes, using mostly theater actors and Cassavetes's wonderful wife Gena Rowlandsare compelling enough to stay with them, through their flaws and difficulties with one another, and through this we get a look into their small world.
Film-making like this is rare, where the director- also as writer- can work with so little to provide so much emotionally for a viewer. It's definitely a certain kind of world shown, of New Yorkers with relationship crises and psychological complexes that may go a bit beyond some viewer's expectations.
That how they communicate is so raw is also a little unnerving at times, and some scenes deserve to be seen twice to grasp everything that's going on. But Faces, for all its moments of improvisation, is a work that is alive, because it has characters who question their own excesses and escapes while not being able to really escape them.
There's adultery, alcohol, an overdose, and lots of talking at times. But there's also moments of true compassion, and reality that likely could be found in few exceptions of films at the time it was made especially about the middle class.
And at times what the filmmaker gets us to feel for these completely imperfect and almost damaged people underneath their middle class side is a bit shattering. Take the scenes involving Seymour Cassel and the woman he's found in the morning unable to really wake up. This whole set of events as he tries to wake her up is a true knockout kind of cinema, where there's no pretense between what is being shown on the screen and what the audience is receiving.
Arguably, there are at times scenes that feel nearly too theater-based, as if we might as well see this on an off-Broadway Endiche Vis.Sat - His Closed Eyes (Cassette). But in this kind of independent film, where there really aren't limits, Cassavetes is interested in characters and situations that Hollywood would just take as stereotypes or more conventional forms.
And with the professionals like John Marley, Rowlands, Cassel, and especially Lynn Carlin who along with Cassel got richly deserved Oscar nominationsCassavetes at times just lets his script go with them and the conviction they bring is, at times, shocking. This is the sort of film that influenced Scorsese, though his style has also influenced a good chunk of what are American independent films, where the limits of budget, time, and Hollywood perks like staged sets and special effects, can sometimes be used for an advantage with a good enough script and cast.
To put it mildly, I can't wait to see this film again. John Cassavetes had impressed me with Shadows, charmed me with Minnie and Moskowitz, and disturbed me with Husbands and The Killing of A Chinese Bookie, but Faces evoked all of these reactions simultaneously.
The film balances the spontaneous vision and participation of the camera as it dances around the characters with the relentless exploration of awkward human contact. After watching Faces, it is difficult to return to some of the French New Wave films, with which Cassavetes' early work holds much in common. He simply embraced an akin visual style without diminishing psychological facets of his characters' abandon.
Faces is truly Cassavetes' masterpiece and a work that brings to light all of his talents and contributions in the cinematic medium. In reviewing writer-director John Cassavetes' cinema verite-styled "Faces" for the New Yorker, film critic Pauline Kael was more interested in the theater audience's reaction to the picture than the picture itself. She noted that everyone in the crowd seemed to accept this "bad office party" with the utmost seriousness, as if what they were witnessing was extremely personal and important.
Cassavetes views a sad, crumbling, upper-class marriage between a businessman and a housewife in Los Angeles with blank eyes. The conversation between the two is vapid and disconnected--and later, when the couple separates and he finds company with a prostitute while she brings home a gigolo, the dialogue remains flat and monotonous. Is Cassavetes trying to say that some marriages become zombie-fied to the point where no amount of conversation breaks through?
The wife overdoses on pills and is rescued by the stud, but when the husband comes back and sees the bottle and the mess in the bathroom, he doesn't even ask her about it. The film is stultified by its need to be raw and uncompromising in an arty fashion with Mount Rushmore-like close-ups of the four principals, a gambit which gets tiresome. Flickers of truth permeate the production, though it isn't very well-shot or lighted, and the editing purposefully allows scenes to ramble on passed their emotional peak.
All we have here is Cassavetes' name to draw us into this hopeless waste of someone's production money. I've never understood the Cassavetes directorial style expression of his intense angernor the masochism of his film audiences. This is a typical Cassavetes product - characters are in-your-face loud, crass, and shallow again: reflecting the director's personality. Overly theatrical "performances", abrupt, artificial mood changes, and hysterical, mindless, irritating laughter.
Misogynistic, forced humor. Good camera work but poor sound and lighting. One would be seriously deluded to consider this art. Throughout the film you will feel uncomfortable, and ask yourself, "Why am I watching this? I see movies hoping that they're different. I've seen so many films that were exactly the same and that's really just a waste of time. Well, Faces is certainly different. It's hard to get through.
It actually took me a week. That's because there is little action and it is hard to get interested in it. The reason why it's so original is because it is practcially a documentary on social life in this time period. It's as low budget as you get. Characters just hang around houses drinking and enjoying themselves. So I guess there isn't much of a plot, but on the good side this might be the most realistic movie I've ever seen.
I really felt like nothing was unrealistic, not even a single one of the conversations. That's different. Most movies try to impress, but Faces tries to be natural. That doesn't make much sense because "natural" means you're not trying to do anything, you're just existing as you always do.
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