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Minnie and Moskowitz

Screening on Film
Directed by John Cassavetes.
With Gena Rowlands, Seymour Cassel, Val Avery.
US, 1971, 35mm, color, 114 min.

“I think about you so much, I forget to go to the bathroom.”

John Cassavetes attempts something heroic: a romantic comedy that actually shows us the essence of real romance, rather than selling us an aspirational fantasy. The story couldn’t be simpler. It’s about two mismatched, flawed, complicated, neurotic weirdos who discover each other. But there’s a glory in how Cassavetes plunges deep inside these two characters, and inside two extraordinary actors at the height of their powers—Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel.

With every hesitation and every mistake, every unexpected diversion or uncontrollable outburst, the film exposes the phony cleanliness of Hollywood’s version of love. Minnie herself says it, bitterly: “The movies lie to you, they set you up. They make you believe in romance and love.” Cassavetes has come not to bury the cinematic love story, but to save it.

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