Dear Professor Carney,
I have been reading your passionate books on John Cassavetes and
I am constantly bedazzled by your dedication and by the beauty
of your language.
Quite apart from your subject matter, the man himself, I wish to
congratulate you on your eloquence. I haven't read any other Film Literature that holds a candle to you.
If you think I sound superlative, I apologize; it's just so refreshing to read such thought provoking arguments
in the field of Cinema. Thank you.
I am currently studying for my PhD, the subject of which is, you
guessed it, John Cassavetes, but more specifically, the professional
relationship (director/actor) between himself and Gena Rowlands.
In the pursuit of this I would very much like to be in contact
with Gena. I understand you are a friend and I'm hoping you might at least alert her to my interest in the
topic. Ultimately. I would love to
fly to the
in order to meet and interview her (and
Just to put you in the picture (so to speak) I am a professional
actor, TV director and screenwriter with 15 years experience.
Hopefully this provides some common ground.
to hear from you soon.
Ray Carney replies:
Thanks for the good words.
I appreciate the value of your project, but I am sorry that I cannot
be more encouraging about Gena Rowlands's involvement and
To start with, I am not at liberty to give out Ms. Rowlands's contact
information. She does not want that done.
Secondly, she has shown no willingness in the past to help other researchers.
As an illustration, I know of three different individuals,
high-level professional authors all, who expressed interest
in writing biographies of Cassavetes whom I put in touch with
her. Their desire was simply to ask her a few questions. They
were willing to do it in writing, on the telephone, in person,
or any other way she requested. She turned all three down
flat. She would not only not reply
to their inquiries, she would not even acknowledge she received
them. I could give you a dozen other examples, but that should
make my point.
Ms. Rowlands has shown utterly NO interest whatsoever in assisting
anyone, in any way, at any time since her husband's death.
The interviews she has given are strictly to promote projects
films, video releases, events. Nothing has been done to
help researchers, biographers, scholars, students, or anyone
else with a serious interest. Nothing in almost twenty
If it's any consolation to you, I would point
out that I include myself and my own work in that generalization.
She refuses to answer my own research questions. She refuses
to talk about her life with Cassavetes. She refuses to clarify
biographical facts, dates, events.
Of course, given the fact that I am so heavily involved in the presentation
of the films, I have talked with Rowlands in person and participated
in public events (including interview and question-and-answer
sessions) that she participates in, but apart from these moments,
even when I ask to interview her for my research, or
ask her if she can clarify this or that fact, she turns me
down flat. No sympathy, no advice, no help, nothing.
She has also evinced absolutely NO desire to make any of her husband's
unpublished letters, screenplays, or other materials available
for research to me or to anyone else.
course, I count myself lucky. John gave me dozens of things
before he died. He talked about his life and work, his fears,
doubts, and despairs with me. He answered my questions. He
was patient and helpful. He was the opposite of her. The
opposite in every way. As far as providing help and
assistance to others (and to me in particular), he was open,
kind, giving, generous, thoughtful, caring, helpful. But she
is not him. Her personality is entirely different. Her actions
are totally different. If you carefully read between the lines
in my Cassavetes on Cassavetes book, you will begin
to see what I am getting at. But there is too much to say,
to include it all - there or here.
A word to the wise: You would do well to take the preceding into account
when you are inclined to wax poetic about Cassavetes' degree
of artistic collaboration with Rowlands. Yes, they worked
together. Yes, she starred in many of the films. But, no,
they were not collaborators in the other sense. She resisted
making many of the films. She often hated that he spent his
money this way and tried to talk him out of it. She was out
of sympathy with much that he did. She was and is a totally
different person from him. Totally.
All best wishes,
Thank you enormously for your considered and lengthy response to
Although I had noted that your texts were elliptical about Ms Rowlands,
I am still flabbergasted and shocked at your email. Naturally,
I have come to trust the authority of your voice through your
works, so it is with regret that I accept the truth of what
As a director of TV myself, I know all too well how charming and
deceptive an actor can be, if they choose to be. What fills
me with gratification is your reference to John as a thoroughly
decent bloke. A man who can create such beauty on screen must
surely have it in his soul. Not to mention his keen eye for
the "truth" - "Truth in Cinema", incidentally,
was to be the topic of my thesis, but I was advised to hone
it all down and chose the Rowlands-Cassavetes relationship
as the new core. Well, time to re-think again! (Not to mention
some of my own post-feminist views.)
The original idea of "Truth" was to have an emphasis on
Cassavetes and Mike
Leigh - so thanks for the Mike Leigh book as well. It seems ironic
that in choosing the Rowlands-Cassavetes topic, I was, in
part, relieved to avoid a confrontation with Leigh. A
crisis of faith, perhaps?
One thing for certain, you have a true gift for expression and I
hope that one day, you'll catch one of my own films, but I'm
still working on that illusive feature. Let's hope the spirit of John can help!
Ray, once again, thanks for your advice and if ever you come to
...yada, yada, yada...
Drop me an email now and again if you feel like it.
THEO ANGELOPOULOS DISMISSED FROM THE THESSALONIKI FILM FESTIVAL
We, in the international film community, directors and staffs of
film festivals and cinematheques, producers, artists, critics
and film studies teachers, are profoundly troubled and
saddened by the drastic and ill-considered actions of
the Greek government in dismissing Theo Angelopoulos
and Michel Demopoulos from their respective positions as
President and Director of the International Thessaloniki Film Festival.
Over the course of the last 13 years, Theo Angelopoulos and Michel
Demopoulos have nurtured and expanded the Thessaloniki Festival
from a local event to an international showcase which did attract
critics and film industry people from all over the world.
It became an independent space, open to the living and innovative forces of the young
international cinema and acting as well as a cross-road
for the film industries of all the Balkanic countries. Theo Angelopoulos'
and Michel Demopoulos' dismissal is part of the very criticized
reform of the national cinematographic policy launched by the
current conservative authorities, wishing to increase the
place of Greek cinema in the festival for promotional
reasons, for instance in re-establishing the "National
Selection". It is obvious that Greek cinema can only
get richer through encounters and will loose if returning
to a more insular state of affairs. This regretful action
is a regression, not a progress, as well as an ideological
change extremely dangerous for the European creators.
SIGN AND HAVE THE PETITION SIGNED ON
WARNING! In order for your signature to be registered, you have to
fill up every box. If you don't have
any comment, please just type any sign in the box Comment".
For any question: Sylvie Rollet, Film Studies, Universit de la Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris
LIMOGÉ DU FESTIVAL DE THESSALONIQUE
de festivals et de cinémathèques, producteurs
et réalisateurs de films, artistes, critiques et enseignants
de cinéma, avons appris avec consternation le brutal
limogeage, par décision du gouvernement grec, du cinéaste
Theo Angelopoulos et de Michel Demopoulos, respectivement
président et directeur du Festival International du
Film de Thessalonique. Depuis 13 ans, Michel Demopoulos et
Theo Angelopoulos ont fait du Festival de Thessalonique un
événement de haute tenue cinématographique
qui a su attirer les professionnels et critiques de cinéma
du monde entier. C'était un espace indépendant,
très attentif aux forces vives et novatrices du jeune
cinéma mondial, mais qui jouait également un
rôle de plaque tournante pour les industries cinématographiques
de tous les pays de la zone des Balkans. Le limogeage de Theo
Angelopoulos et de Michel Demopoulos s'inscrit dans le programme
très controversé de réforme de la politique
cinématographique nationale, mis en œvre par le pouvoir
conservateur en place, désireux de renforcer la présence
du cinéma grec dans le festival à des fins essentiellement
promotionnelles, en rétablissant notamment la "
compétition nationale ". Or, il est bien évident
que le cinéma grec ne peut que s'enrichir dans la confrontation
et s'appauvrir dans un frileux repli identitaire. C'est donc
bien d'un retour en arrière qu'il s'agit en même
temps que d'un redressement idéologique, extrêmement
inquiétant pour l'ensemble des créateurs européens.
SIGNEZ ET FAITES
SIGNER LA PETITION EN ALLANT SUR LE SITE
que votre signature soit enregistrée, vous devez remplir
tous les champs. Si vous ne souhaitez ajouter aucun commentaire
dans la case prévue à cet effet, saisissez n'importe
Pour toute question,
contacter: Sylvie Rollet Maître de conférences
en études cinématographiques à l'Université
de la Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris III
Dear Mr. Carney,
I just want to thank you
for the work you did in putting together Cassavetes on
Cassavetes, and for writing American Vision:
The Films of Frank Capra. I've been reading and rereading these books for the past three
years as I work on my novel/Master's thesis, and the books
have given me an adrenaline rush every time I pick them up.
I realize this is none of my business, but I was wondering why you
decided not to write the Keaton/Chaplin book you proposed
in John Cassavetes: The Adventure of Insecurity.
Regardless, I love your work, and will keep my eye out for any new
books you might publish.
Ray Carney replies:
I wrote it but no one published it. I have six or seven or eight like
that. Just life I guess. I used to tell myself they would
be published after my death but I woke up one morning and
realized that if no one is interested NOW, why in the world
would they be interested THEN?!!!
But not to be consumed with mourning, it doesnt really matter. I work for the work, the discovery, the fun,
the puzzle-solving, the challenge not for the reading of
it and God help us, not to SELL it!
Glad you enjoyed the two books. Try the Mike Leigh. You might like
it too. He's a certifiable genius
and they are rare. His later work (Vera Drake, Career Girls,
All or Nothing) is not as good as his earlier (Bleak Moments,
Abigails Party, Home Sweet Home, Meantime, Life is Sweet)
but that doesn't matter. Even Shakespeare has his weak plays.
Keep going. Keep making people think. That's what matters.
Dear Professor Carney,
I'll keep this short...
Just letting you know, I finally acted on the decision
I had actually made over a year ago ever since I started working
in an office: I left my job...I'm in the middle of my third
film PALANGGA, that's Ilonggo (one of the many Philippine
languages and my ethnic group) for The Beloved or Dear
or Dearest or "Love".
The fear of what is to come, the fear of the lack of security,
is still at the back of my head, but it's not controlling me. I let that fear go with my tears in the
We've just completed shooting the
first scene and that's already around 12 hours of digital
video. This certainly is not going to be a short work...
I never thought it would feel this lonely or frustrating. I've been trying to shield myself
from a lot of what Tarkovsky calls "trivial topicality"
that's just messing with my mind and distracting me from
what I have to explore and show. But it's really a learning experience. I'm learning things about the people I'm working with and myself.
Some not nice, some great, some surprising, many things...and
then there's the never-ending struggle with my self...
I wonder if you feel like you've sometimes been made like
an advice column for a lot of artists out there or a
listening ear column...It's certainly been more profound and
inspiring than that for many of us.
Dear Prof Carney,
Hello. I hope you remember me from my innumerable queries to
you about the research opportunities at BU vis a vie my own research interests!
I want to share the wonderful news with you that I have accepted
admission offer at Tisch School of Arts, NYU. The department
of cinema studies has offered me a full scholarship and
a research assistantship. Im very
excited about it and am already looking forward to begin with
my research work.
I would like to thank you once again for your invaluable time
Dear Prof. Ray Carney,
First of all, sorry for my bad English!
I am associated to a communication agency from So
). We know extracts from your articles
on John Cassavetes work. Congratulations! It is a very good
and serious and dedicated work.
We are great fans of John Cassavetes work and very, very interested
in producing a complete exhibition of his films in Sao Paulo. This would be the first time that
all of his film work would be shown to general public in
To start this process, we would like to ask you: would it
be possible that you have any information concerning the whereabouts
of his films? Any information will be of great value.
We are grateful for your attention.
Ray Carney replies:
As you realize, the American availability (which I deal with and am
knowledgeable about) is not relevant. Talk
to the Buenos Aires (
) Film Festival. They
got foreign (subtitled) prints and the rights to show them
two years ago. They might be helpful.
I would love to come to present the films and talk to new viewers.
Let me know if I can be of service.
Dear Mr. Carney,
Thank you for your quick reply. I actually have picked up
the Mike Leigh book but quickly put it down again until I
can go through all his films. I swear that Leigh book is electric.
Have any of the sections you wrote on Keaton been published
Ray Carney replies:
No. Too busy trying to do things
and help people. Forgive the haste.
Dear Professor Carney,
I am a fan of John Cassavetes and I have found that you are
one of the few people out there who are intelligently and
thoughtfully preserving the legacy of quite possibly the most
overlooked American film maker of all time. I found the portion
on "Woman Under the Influence"
in your "Cassavetes on Cassavetes" book to be a
fascinating window inside the creative process of one of my
favorite films. I am writing this email because I am curious
about something and I figure that you would be the person
to ask. A friend of mine and I are seeking to make a film
of our own. Since we are on a seriously low budget, we are
doing plenty of research and inquiry into what technology
we should use. One of the ways we are going about this is
taking some of our favorite directors and finding out how
much their films cost to make and what type of film they were
using. We were curious on what kind of budget Cassavetes was
usually operating on and what his "weapons" of choice
were. I realize that this sounds like a strange request, but
it would be immensely helpful in our deliberations on how
to go about doing our project. Thank you in advance.
Ray Carney replies:
4 AM Night Thoughts (It's late so this will be brief): Technology has changed completely
since JC's day. As have budgets. As of the past few months, I'd recommend using one of the smashing new $5000 Sony or JVC
HDV (high-def) cameras. Dirt cheap but still
state of the art. Avid has just released an editing
program for working in post with them. The output is fully
commercial TV studio video quality and, after a little tweaking
in post, almost as good as 35mm film. Look in any recent issue
of American Cinematographer or Filmmaker magazine. They have the details. You can make a movie for the price of a used car. (A mid-2005 postscript from Ray Carney: The Canon XL2 HDV Camera is the one I would now recommend. It has exceptional video quality, great audio input capability, a 24-fps mode for transfer to film--be sure any camera you buy to make a feature has this, comes with a 20X zoom standard, and can be used with a wide range of other Canon lenses, prime and non-prime. It sells for less than $5000 as of the date I am writing this.)
A mid-2006 note from Ray Carney:
Good news! The technology keeps being improved. Here is the updated information from Canon and Sony. I print excerpts from the press releases:
Canon debuts two HD camcorders
Cannon today unveiled its XH A1 and XH G1 three-CCD HD camcorders, designed for broadcasters, cinematographers, an dproduction facilities. Building on the image quality of the XL H1 model, the XH A1 and XH G1 HD camcorders offer a Genuine Canon 20x HD zoom lens, Super Range Optical Image Stabilization, as well as 60i, 24F, and 30F frame rates. Both camcorders feature three 1/3-inch native 16:9 1440 x 1080 CCDs that capture images at 1080i resolution, and can utilize the 24 Frame rate to create the feel of movie film. Users can also send their cameras in to Canon's Factory Service Center for an optional 50i/60i upgrade to conform to PAL standards. The XH A1 model is slated for shipment in late October for an estimated price of $4,000, while the XH G1 model adds HD-SDI output with embedded audio and timecode; Genlock synchronization and Timecode In/Out is expected to ship in mid-November 2006 for $7,000.
Sony Handycam HDR-FX7 1080i 3X-16:9-CCD HDV 1080i is equipped with three-chip ClearVID CMOS Sensor technology to deliver exceptional high-def video and the ut ...most in creative control.For videographers on the move, the HDR-FX7 sports a compact body design, weighing in at about three pounds. It is approximately 40 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than Sony's first prosumer HDV model. Like previous HDV models, the HDR-FX7 can record and playback both 1080i HDV and standard definition DV video on standard miniDV tapes. Recorded HDV video can be conveniently edited with a choice of available HDV, non-linear editing software. Its HDMI interface offers simple, one-cord connection to compatible display devices so you can just plug and play into instead of struggling with multiple cables. Price: $3500.
I'd like to thank you for bringing me so much inspiration
over the past four years that I've been in college. Your work
has really spoken to me, opened my mind to new ways of portraying
things in movies. Every day I've striven to find a new way
of creating something original, something personal and unique.
Three weeks from now, I'll be graduating from a little college
down in Maryland called Villa Julie and I plan to live my
life as an indie filmmaker. I know it won't be an easy task,
but there's no better way to remain true to oneself. The main
reason was to say thanks and to bring to your attention a
movie I helped create last summer, which is just about to
arrive on DVD this upcoming Friday, called Thunder and Hurricane
- which is kind of a quirky look at superheroes. If you're
interested, you can check it out at their website: www.thunderandhurricane.com.
I can't wait to read your works in the future, and perhaps
we'll meet up some day.
What was the Chinese bookies name? Mr Cheng? If you have time
to answer I'll be very grateful.
What is an Ola?
What is your name? Who or what are you? I'll give you four
2) Harold Ling
The heaviest man on the West Coast
And where the hey
did you get Mr. Cheng?!!!!!! Mr. Cheng??????????
Woman Under the Influence Script
Hello! I'm a filmmaker
who loves Cassavetes, and I'm wondering if any of his scripts
have been published, especially this one. I have your book, Shadows, and I thought if anyone knows, it would
be you. Thanks!
Alisa R. Lomax
me about yourself. I'm always interested. Where are you from?
What films have you made? Features or shorts or what? How
did you discover Cassavetes' work?
web site has detailed answers to your question. The short
answer is: Screenplays to Faces and Minnie and
Moskowitz were published during John's lifetime but nothing
is currently in print and available. And nothing about the
film you ask for: Woman Under the Influence.
Rowlands has everything but won't allow it to be published
or distributed under the idea that "John only wanted
the final work to be available." That was and is why
she won't let me show the first version of Shadows and why
she has resisted the release of the first or earlier versions
of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Faces.
She has a very primitive notion of art. Only the released
myself have much of this material since John gave me drafts
and scripts before he died, but I cannot send them to anyone.
Gena simply won't allow it and has no sympathy with inquiries.
I have asked her to make it available for scholarly research
dozens of times and she has turned me down every single time.
I have also offered to contact publishers about getting it
into print, but she has no interest in preserving or expanding
her husband's cinematic legacy in this way.
part of a larger problem that I don't have time to go into
here and now, but if you are interested, see the Ray Carney's
discoveries section of my site for more about her attempts
to prevent material from being seen or read. It's all there.
Enough to make you laugh or cry -- or pull our your hair.