(John Cassavettes, Hena Rolands, Susan Sarandon, et al / DVD / PG / (1982) 2007 / Columbia Pictures)
Overview: This modernistic fantasy-drama, is about a New York architect Phillip (John Cassavetes), who is fedup with city living. He takes his wife Antonia (Gena Rowlands), an actress, and their daughter, Miranda (Molly Ringwald in her debut), to Greece to a barren island. There he meets a singer and a hermit and others who land on the island when the boat is shipwrecked.
DVD Verdict: I remember seeing this movie when I was 11 and have loved it ever since. This movie has it all; romance, drama, comedy, great score and cinematography. It's also a celebration of life with all of its joys and sorrows, disappointments and rewards. The cast is wonderful and it all seems effortlessly done. There are several memorable scenes, one of my favorites being the New Year's Day party.
I truth, this movie really got inside my head very quickly. I think part of the appeal is the vicarious pleasure in seeing the Cassavettes character quitting his job, which he hates. I don't think the nervous energy Cassavettes of the Cassavettes character was just an act - see Paul Mazursky's recent book. Another wonderfully scripted scene was the 'Dozing Scene' with the shot of sky through the trees, the hammock by the sea, and the little goat springing along then suddenly going to sleep; and also the 'Leaping Goats' scene.
The intertwining of the two story timelines worked really well, great Greek scenery, and glimpses of early 80's New York City too, including the now lost World Trade Center. Gena Rowlands and Susan Sarandon were both fine in their roles as well. Raul Julia's Calibanos was more Latin American than Greek but I enjoyed his character anyway. Molly Ringwald's first film role - I thought she was cute. The second half of the film, after everyone joins up on the Greek island is a bit of let down, though, and the sacrifice scene didn't really make much sense to me.
To me this is the pinnacle of Cassavetes journey to find himself, fancies himself a god, and makes the magic happen only to regret his actions but assist in rescuing the party. This movie is definitely on my list of the best movies ever. All in all, a great film from a great director. I'm glad that it's finally on DVD and so should you too be! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with no Special Features.