It was Gena Rowlands’ 84th birthday on June 19. I was looking online for a trailer of Love Streams (1984), and there was one made although the film was never really properly distributed. But I did find a beautiful trailer put together by the Film Museum in Amsterdam, so I thought I would share it. The quality is not great, but just wait! On August 12 the Criterion Collection is releasing a digital restoration of the film, and it looks GREAT now. Love Streams, a masterpiece, John Cassavetes’ last film, was never released on DVD. So it’s a major moment. And, of course, it’s a major moment for me as well because a video-essay, written and narrated by yours truly, on the acting of Gena Rowlands, is going to be included on the Special Features of the DVD. I’ve seen a rough cut and it looks great.
At one point in the film, Sarah Lawson (Gena Rowlands) is on the phone with her soon-to-be-ex-husband (Seymour Cassel), who basically divorced her because she was so unstable. Sarah is trying to convince him that her time in Europe did her a world of good (all evidence to the contrary), and she says to him on the phone, with utter seriousness, her voice bright and excited, “I’m almost not crazy now.”
Gena Rowlands never ever EVER condescended to the “crazy” characters she played in her husband’s films. She played them as hopeful, optimistic. It is one of the many reasons why they can be so tragic, and why her work is so unique.
Again, August 12: Criterion release of Love Streams.
And happy birthday Gena, you tough tough dame.