Following years of unfilled curiosity, I had the fortune of finally seeing John Cassavetes‘ Gloria at Metrograph this past weekend. Many things that made the experience a surprise, and none were as strong as one-time child actor John Adames, whose central role was written as a rather precocious young child who almost exclusively speaks like an adult — a typically nauseating archetype that, when paired with a prime Gena Rowlands turn and placed under Cassavetes’ careful eye, works perfectly. Although I almost immediately knew something was different about this iteration of the type and could certainly sense something deeper at play, Gloria moves at so quick a clip that you might only be able to collect its pieces hours and days after.
Enter Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López, who took to studying the film’s adult-child relationships, Cassavetes’ manipulation of perspective, and how “the mother-son figure is at once questioned, discarded, transcended, scandalized, universalized, and finally reaffirmed in its vital, one-to-one potential.” This is a rather essential source for those who’ve seen Gloria, in no small part because the level of academic writing on the subject is rather shallow; those who haven’t should do what they can to track down a work that often seems improbable.
Watch it below (via MUBI):
Tensions: On John Cassavetes’ “Gloria” (1980) from MUBI on Vimeo.