Opening Night

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Dir. John Cassavetes

USA 1977 | Colour | 144 mins | Cert 15 | Drama

Cast: Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, John Cassavetes, Joan Blondell

An overlooked masterpiece of the 1970s, Opening Night was the ninth film of writer-director John Cassavetes, pioneer and patron saint of American independent film-making.

Gena Rowlands (Cassavetes’ wife and muse) plays Myrtle Gordon, a Broadway star cast in a new play as a middle-aged woman of declining sexual power. Reluctant to accept her age and fearful that she will be typecast as an older woman, Myrtle is also haunted by visions of a dead girl – an adoring young fan killed in a car accident – whom she sees as a figment of her younger self. Rebelling against the pessimism of the script, Myrtle questions the part she is playing both onstage and off. In the words of Cassavetes: ‘she fights a terrifying battle to recapture hope.’ Opening Night is a fascinating variation on All About Eve and an acknowledged influence on the work of Pedro Almodóvar.

Available on: DCP, 35mm

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