Brothers and sisters -- Drama, Family life -- United States -- Drama, Race relations -- New York (State) -- New York -- Drama, Youth -- New York (State) -- New York -- Social life and customs -- Drama


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.

Judy Bloch
  • Erich Kollmar
  • English
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 74 mins
  • UCLA Film & Television Archive
  • Faces Distribution
Additional Info
  • Script improvised by the actors, from ideas by Cassavetes Restoration funded by The Film Foundation, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and the Ahmanson Foundation

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

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Love streams (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, Andréa Picard, 2006

The return of Shadows (article), Village Voice, J. Hoberman, 2004

Cast a long shadow (program note), Rotterdam Film Festival, 2004

Shadows (program note), Harvard Film Archive, 2000

Shadows (program note), Toronto International Film Festival, Carlos Diegues, 1999

Shadows (program note), San Francisco International Film Festival, 1997

Shadows (distributor materials), Castle Hill, 1997

John Cassavetes (flyer), 1991

Love films: a Cassavetes retrospective (article), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), Jonathan Rosenbaum, 1991

True maverick (review), Daily Californian (Berkeley, Calif.), Dennis Harvey, 1990

Displaying 10 of 44 publicly available documents.

View all Shadows documentation on CineFiles.