Cinema Simply Different

Grand stage actress Myrtle Gordon gets cast in a new play: a woman struggling with age. Not having quite reached her alter egos age, she finds it difficult to relate and struggles with herself. So she drinks. Terrorizes her surroundings, and drinks some more. Before premiering in New York, production is touring the backwoods for play rehearsals and audience feedback. After one of her performances, Gordon witnesses a seventeen year old fangirl dying in a car accident. She begins to hallucinate, seeing the young girl and projecting her own youth onto the dead girl’s image. It’s the beginning of her identity crisis – it’s a free fall into madness…


John Cassavetes is considered to be one of the most important trailblazers for the independent film of the 60s – the emancipation of a young American cinema from the classic big studio productions. Marking the pinnacle of Cassavetes’s craft, Opening Night grants a fascinating look into the all-consuming art of acting. The disconcertingly intimate camera moves on and off stage; from internal conflicts and the workings of a theatre production to the madness of an actress in the midst of self-alienation – brilliantly embodied by a fantastic Gena Rowlands.

Alexander Streb
Translated by Alicia Schümperli

Other films in this program