131 minutes, U.S.A., 1970, Colour, D-Cinema

Despite a successful career as a studio actor, as a filmmaker John Cassavetes challenged audiences to look beyond the escapism he believed endemic in Hollywood films. Self-financed and low-budget, using the same cast and crew (including friends and relatives), and what appeared to be an improvised acting style, Cassavetes’ work is still hailed by many as a cornerstone of the American independent filmmaking tradition.

Husbands follows three middle-aged men who go on a bender while grieving the untimely death one of their friends. Pre-dating Judd Apatow’s exploration of arrested male development, it’s an exhilarating, raw examination of what it means to be a traditional man. Focusing on performance, the film is a showpiece of acting talent – the late lamented Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk and Cassavetes himself. Wives rarely feature and the focus here is on the men rebelling against their conventional lives, making fools of themselves, pushing conventional limits, but with a raw truth which has never been matched. (Notes by Alice Black.) 

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