DVD Shadows [DVD] [Criterion Collection] (DVD 4380715),
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Shadows [DVD] [Criterion Collection]

  • R
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • When actor John Cassavetes, frustrated with the lack of reality in movies in the late 1950s, decided to direct his own low-budget film, a new form of cinema was born. Defined as "an improvisation" in the closing credits, SHADOWS concerns three New York siblings whose mixed racial backgrounds create tension in their relationships. Hugh (Hugh Herd) is a dark-skinned jazz singer who can only find work that belittles his talent; Lelia (Lelia Goldoni), a light-skinned aspiring writer; and Ben (Ben Carruthers), the youngest, a light-skinned ladies man who spends his nights searching with his white friends for conquests. Hugh and Ben argue over Ben's inability to accept his racial background, an issue that reaches its boiling point when Lelia develops a relationship with Tony (Anthony Ray), a racist. The film boasts a gritty, compelling style, and Charles Mingus's bouncy jazz score enhances the frenetic camera work to give it a documentary-like feel. The performances, all naturalistic and seemingly unrehearsed, add even greater realism to Cassavetes's vision, resulting in a visionary work that is widely considered the first independent American film.
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  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): SHA120

  • Credits
    Ben Carruthers, Lelia Goldoni, Hugh Herd, Anthony Ray, Rupert Cross, David Jones, Jack Ackerman, Tom Allen, Dennis Sallas, David Pokitillow
  • Critic Reviews
    "...Startling....A raw, fresh slice of life..."
    Los Angeles Times

    "...[The film] influenced a wave of filmmakers....Goldoni is spectacular here..."
    USA Today

    "Fresh and vital, SHADOWS became a landmark for US indie cinema."
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