Restored 35mm Print
Ben Carruthers, Lelia Goldoni, Hugh Hurd, Anthony Ray,
Cassavetes’s first film stripped the American screen of a treasured possession—narrative closure—and left the ambivalence of real emotions. The film owed a debt to Italian neorealism, but with its poetry of immediacy, its Charles Mingus riffs shattering the silences and punctuating the dialogue, its racial theme already evolved into an existentialism of marginality, Shadows was as American as Lenny Bruce. Cassavetes hangs a tale on three black Manhattanites—Lelia (Lelia Goldoni) and her brothers Ben (Ben Carruthers) and Hugh (Hugh Hurd). To say that each suffers an identity crisis, to use the lingo of the day, is to minimize the breadth of these truly remarkable performances.