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Guests attending Tuesday night’s Gucci-sponsored screening of John Cassavetes’ 1974 movie “A Woman Under the Influence” weren’t expecting a feel-good film. But the extent to which they were moved by the story about a mentally ill mother of three (played by Gena Rowlands) took a few by surprise.

 

This story first appeared in the October 23, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Zoe Cassavetes, Rowlands’ daughter with the director, was somewhat speechless as she entered the dinner afterwards. “It was a masterful performance,” she said proudly of her mom, who was nominated for an Oscar for the role. “That’s not to say I wasn’t blubbering through the entire film.”

 

Her siblings Xan, who appears in the film, and Nick joined the rest of the shell-shocked crowd including Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, James Franco, Gucci’s Mark Lee and co-host Martin Scorsese.

 

Many of the young actors in attendance fell under Scorsese’s influence, downing wine to muster the courage to introduce themselves, but the director recalled that it was Cassavetes who impacted him most.

 

“John literally hit me on the head and said, ‘Go make ‘Mean Streets,'” Scorsese recalled. “So I did. He changed my life.”

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