Act of Being #5: Gena Rowlands

July 18, 2011

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Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence

(1974, USA, John Cassavetes)

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[At times in Rowland’s performance] gestures surface only if we are able to utterly leave the world and all that’s in it behind, to forego all of culture’s public stances and poses. But it takes a second step beyond leaving the looks and judgements of others behind. Even more important and challenging, we have to leave our pasts and past consciousness behind, to renounce the excess baggage of memory and experience that usually weighs us down. We open this completely only when we are able to forget ourselves, to give ourselves up to the expression of our deepest and most secret impulses. Cassavetes makes Mabel a kind of ballerina, and at these moments she is like a dancer, allowing herself to speak from a deeper place than the brain. – Ray Carney

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