Review: ‘Gazzara’

Ben Gazzara's death in February adds a certain poignancy to Joseph Rezwin's otherwise bland profile of the actor.

Ben Gazzara’s death in February adds a certain poignancy to Joseph Rezwin’s otherwise bland profile of the actor. Rezwin first met the thesp on the set of “Opening Night,” and though they didn’t meet much subsequently, the helmer considered Gazzara a father figure. Interviewing him for a docu was a way of growing up, but Rezwin’s “Ben and Me” approach includes too much Rezwin at the expense of insight into Gazzara’s career or craft. Arts-type networks will be a likely outlet.

Gazzara’s exceptional legacy largely speaks for itself, so it’s a shame there aren’t more clips (expense was probably an issue). It’s unfortunate Rezwin didn’t include stage footage (YouTube has a clip from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”), especially given Gazzara’s statement that the theater was the real place to see him act. Though there’s plenty of the thesp speaking of his life, more Tennessee Williams and less Aunt Ida would have been welcome; it’s clear Gazzara wants Rezwin to stop fawning, yet the helmer only catches on at the very end. John Cassavetes figures prominently in discussions, but little substantive information is imparted.

Gazzara

Production

A RezGaz production. Produced by Joseph Rezwin, Philip Mershon. Directed, written by Joseph Rezwin.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, HD), Trevor Tweeten; editor, Alaa Safi; music, Eileen Sorley; sound, Nicholas Williams. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (Histoire(s) du Cinema), Aug. 2, 2012. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Ben Gazzara, Joseph Rezwin, Frank Gehry, Jay Julien, Al Ruban, Elke Gazzara. Narrator: Joseph Rezwin.
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