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 owes a debt to Italian neorealism, but with its poetry of immediacy, its riffs by jazz musician Charles Mingus, and its racial theme already evolved into an existentialism of marginality, Shadows was quintessentially American. Cassavetes centers his 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 their truly remarkable performances.