Shadows. 1959. USA. Directed by John Cassavetes. With Hugh Hurd, Lelia Goldoni, Ben Carruthers, Anthony Ray. 35mm. 81 min.
A pioneering work of American indie cinema, John Cassavetes’s directorial debut centers on the life of three African American siblings—all musicians—in New York City. The film brings the Big Apple’s vibrant art scenes to life, and one sister’s romantic misadventure provides a glimpse of the racial dynamics of the time. Filming with a 16mm camera, the actor-turned-director uses improvised performances and an uninhibited narrative style to elicit a spirit of freedom and spontaneity. Unsatisfied with the original 1958 version, Cassavetes reshot and reedited the film to make this second, release version.