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John Cassavetes’ directorial debut revolves around an interracial romance between Lelia (Lelia Goldoni), a light-skinned black woman living in New York City with her two brothers, and Tony (Anthony Ray), a white man. The relationship crumbles when Tony meets Lelia’s brother Hugh (Hugh Hurd), a talented dark-skinned jazz singer struggling to find work, and discovers the truth about Lelia’s racial heritage. Shot on location in Manhattan with a cast and crew made up primarily of amateurs, Cassavetes’ Shadows is a visionary work that is widely considered the forerunner of the American independent film movement.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 15
- Fresh: 15
- Rotten: 0
- Average Rating: 7.7/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Shadows is an unfinished picture in every sense of the word. Yet it is fitfully dynamic, endowed with a raw but vibrant strength, conveying an illusion of being a record of real people, and it is incontestably sincere.
Fresh: Arguably the founding work of the American independent cinema.
Fresh: This is the only Cassavetes film made without a full script (it grew out of acting improvs), and rarely has so much warmth, delicacy, and raw feeling emerged so naturally and beautifully from performances in an American film.
Fresh: A very modern, impressionistic snapshot of New York bohemia with scenes linked not by dramatic line but by place, time and mood.
Cassevetes is a painter. An artist… a tragic hero
I read this on the UK's Guardian papers once: Because Cassavetes made most of his movies outside the studio system and financed them himself (paid for from the salary he made acting in other directors' films), he was free from the constraints that limit Hollywood film-makers. He could take as long as he wanted to shoot his projects, spend as much time as he needed to edit them, and if he was so inclined, reshoot or re-edit them as much as he wanted. In short, Cassavetes made films the way poets write or painters paint.