The American Independent Film Festival is paying homage to John Cassavetes – the most emblematic figure of American independent cinema – by bringing to audiences five of his films. Cassavetes’ works have influenced generations of filmmakers, among them being Cristi Puiu, one of the most prominent figures in the Romanian New Wave. Puiu has repeatedly named Cassavetes as one of the directors who has marked his own cinematic evolution.

At the same time, John Cassavetes has played a major role in the career of Peter Falk, known to Romanian audiences through the popular 70’s TV show “Colombo”. Cassavetes, himself an actor, as well as director and screenwriter, was married to Gena Rowlands, the muse of his films, and his children have come to carry on his passion, with both Nick and Zoe Cassavetes working in the film industry in different capacities.

Bucharest cinephiles will have the opportunity to watch

Shadows“(1959), “Faces” (1968), “A Woman Under the Influence” (1974), “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” (1976) and “Gloria” (1980) at the festival, between April 27th and May 3rd. His films will be introduced by filmmakers or film critics, among them being Cristian Tudor Popescu, Ionuț Mareș or Andrei Tănăsescu. The retrospective will be presented at the Romanian Peasant’s Museum Cinema, with free admission depending on availability of seats. Ticket reservations can be made through

John Cassavates is considered one of the pioneers of American film. A contemporary of the French New Wave, Cassavetes redefined American cinema through an honest approach, which defied compromise. He chose to explore the truth behind human interactions and relations, with and authentic and incisive curiosity. He was nominated three times at the Oscars, as screenwriter, actor, and director, winning the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1984 with “Love Stream”, and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival with “Gloria” in 1980.

Though prolific as an actor in many Hollywood productions, John Cassavetes always searched to explore the ties between acting and directing in American cinema through his own films. He kept creative control over his productions through self-financing, bringing his actor friends together through his cinematic experiments, and using his own home, as well as his wife’s, Gena, as locations. Basing his work on improvised interpretations and on a fluid cinematic style, his films are constructed around a group of psychologically complex characters, enacted in a natural manner by those close to him, like Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk.

The films of John Cassavetes from American Independent Film Festival – special screenings at Muzeul Țăranulul Cinema.

Shadows (1959) – Saturday, April 28 at 16:00

Winner of the Critics Award at Venice Film Festival, Cassavetes’ directorial debut is a free-spirited ramble which looks at the lives of two brothers and their younger sister in 1950s New York. SHADOWS is an essential piece of American independent cinema and a defining start in Cassavetes’ oeuvre.

Faces (1968) – Friday, April 27 at 17:30

Oscar-nominated for Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, FACES looks at the decisive night in the lives of business-man Richard and his wife Maria. Following Richard’s decision to divorce, the two spend the evening in different company, seeking love and companionship with emotionally-tragic consequences.

A Woman Under the Influence (1974) – Wednesday, May 2 at 17:00

Featuring some of the most memorable, psychologically intense and emotionally ravishing scenes ever put to screen, Cassavetes’ portrait of love and human frailty earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director, and his wife and actress Gena Rowlands two Best Actress awards (Golden Globes and San Sebastian).

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) – Monday, April 30 at 17:30

A subdued art-house neo-noir of formidable tension, the films sees Cassavetes delve into genre cinema accompanied by another of his regular actors, Ben Gazzara. The movie follows Cosmo Vittelli, a Los Angeles strip-club owner whose burlesque shows of carnal and cerebral titillation keep his integrity and moral fibre intact in the flowing stream of the city’s seedy, criminal underworld. All is soon threatened when he loses the club as gambling collateral and the only way to ‘right the wrong’ is by taking out a Chinese bookie on behalf of his mafia debtors. What follows is a downward-spiral of insecurity and self-destruction, filtered through Gazzara’s quiet performance of resigned masculinity and ill-fated destiny.

Gloria (1980) – Sunday, April 29 at 15:30

Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, GLORIA marks Cassavetes’ last directorial return to New York with a captivating, Oscar-nominated performance from Gena Rowlands.

Journalists interested in taking part at the screenings of this year’s American Independent Film Festival, can request a press accreditation. In order to obtain a press accreditation, a request should be set to

Tickets can be bought on and in the Eventbook network.

The program, events and all the news on the festival will be updated on the festival website, on the Facebook page and Instagram account (@AmericanIndependentFilmFest).

The Festival is organized by the Cinemascop Association, supported by Catena, with the support of the Embassy of the United States in Romania and UPC Romania. A cultural project financed by the National Center of Cinematography.

Mobility partner: BMW Auto Cobalcescu

Partners: Dedeman, Qreator by IQOS, Romanian Cultural Institute, UPS Romania, CinemaPRO, Romanian Peasant Museum, Cinema Peasant Museum, RoImage, InterCom Film, Voodoo Films, Eventbook, Our Big Day Out, Sister Association

Main media partners: Pro Cinema, Radio Guerrilla.

Media partners: Adevărul, Dilema Veche, Radio România Cultural, Agerpres, Decât o Revistă, Elle, A List Magazine, Zile și Nopți, Nine O’Clock, Newsweek,,, Revista Cariere, Business 24, Scena 9, Glamour, Avantaje, IQads, Noizz, The Institute,, AaRC, CineFan, Senso TV, Ziarul Metropolis.

Communication partner: PiArt Vision.