Will this Inspire or Depress you? John Cassavetes’ film, FACES, came out in 1968, when I was nine, and I first saw it in 1980 or so, when I was 21, and it seemed to point, if not to a smarter popular culture, then to the possibility of a thriving subculture of frank, intelligent expression in The Arts. Already a minority within a minority (a Matryoshka doll of identity) I didn’t mind the idea of spending the rest of my adult life among the marginals capable of enjoying, or even making, a film like FACES (or William Greaves’ Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, also from 1968); quite the contrary: I looked forward to it. Like all mirages, though, this marginal promised land of wit, charm, grace, anti-materialism, creative erudition and the egalitarian elitism of a Working Class Savant Garde,  seemed to recede just as swiftly as I hurried toward it. When I stopped chasing this sweet Nowhen long enough to take some measure of the world I took pause in, I was horrified. The horror has long since resolved into a dull ache of nostalgia for a year that never happened. I guess The Dumbshits really did win that culture war. Don’t believe me?

Watch this… (previous vi deleted, trs this one…)


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