Reel Romantics

When it comes to capturing real love on and off the silver screen I think creative collaborators & happily-marrieds John Cassavetes & Gena Rowlands take the prize. (Image credit.)

Cassavetes' films are renowned for their trademark innovative, improvisational acting style as well as the wildly intimate stories they tell about real people facing real problems.

As far as cinematic themes and interests go, Cassavetes himself proclaimed: "the rest of the stuff doesn’t interest me. I have a one-track mind for love.”

If you haven't experienced a Cassavetes' film before or it's been a while, why not go for a shot of hearty realism this Valentine's weekend? *Warning: these films are not for the faint of heart or the hallmark-inclined.

There are so many amazing pictures to choose from: Shadows (1959), Faces (1968), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Gloria (1980) - and Gena Rowlands is show-stoppingly grand in all of them.

For a serious emotional education, try 'Love Streams' (1984). One of the last films Cassavetes made before his death in 1989, it is a complex, tragic, zany love story full of hope, compassion and farm animals.

To get a glimpse of crazy Cassavete's-style love, click here.

Modern day romantics who loved 'The Notebook'  (2004) - see the image below featuring lovestruck Canadians Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling - might be interested to know that this more traditional love story was directed by Nick Cassavetes (John & Gena's son). Guess that apple didn't fall too far from the tree.. To see a clip of the love letters kissing scene (get guilty hallmark fix), click here.