hm! probably my personal least favorite cassavetes so far (until i eventually watch Husbands), but the artistry of the intimate camerawork, ben gazzara’s subdued performance as club owner cosmo vittelli, and the swirling atmosphere of his beloved burlesque house is undeniable. here, cassavetes explores the frustrating paradox of cosmo’s wanting to make meaningful art, as shown by his relentless dedication to the quality of his girls’ act rather than their Tiddies, versus his needing to use their Tiddies to draw customers into the club in the first place. it’s essentially the same issue that many indie filmmakers face, especially cassavetes himself.
the criterion blu-ray included a 16 minute audio interview with cassavetes, and this quote stuck with me:
“the threat of never making another film unless you conform is terrifying. and the critics and the festivals have been the only weapon of creative people.”
here’s to refusing to conform in the name of art 🥂