As far as I know, Stanley Cavell never wrote about the films of John Cassavates. But I always thought that Cassavetes’ films, so distinctly american, concerned with the ordinary and so jazzy in rhythm would speak to this thinker of the american, of the ordinary and who himself started out as a jazz musician.
But particularly Cassavetes’ endings which – against all odds – refuse to let the characters be swallowed up by despair but which instead show them moving forward, not into some naive happy resolution but into some yet undecided outside always made me think of Cavell and what he called (with Emerson) „the unattained but attainable self“.
This video essay shows these two american philosophers of onwardness in direct conversation – a conversation they never actually had but are still having, in my mind. Cavell and Cassavetes: an encounter on some ordinary street, at the end of a movie.
[On endings in Cassavetes see: Plädoyer für ein Kino der Barmherzigkeit]