I started Cassavetes' A Woman Under The Influence last night, continuing my look at Cassavetes to test the theory that, more than any other American director, he's about people up against the limits of their existence and unable to break out. I had to turn it off. I only got as far as Gena Rowlands, coming back to her house with a man she picked up in a bar.
There is something almost unbearably edgy about the young Rowlands for me. Like somebody jammed a 220v wire into her brain. It takes her about two minutes to convince me she's the most fragile woman I'll ever meet. Right now, I don't want to know what happens to her. I don't want to know what Cassavetes is about to do.
I knew a woman who lived on the edge, in and out of wards. Overdoses. Slashed wrists. The last time I talked to her was the night she called and said: "I did it again."
I hung up the phone, took a long shower, got dressed, fixed a sandwich and watched a little TV. Then I called 911.