1958, AGFA, 87 min, USA, Dir: John Cassavetes

With its low budget, seemingly improvised style, naturalistic acting and progressive view of racial politics, Cassavetes’ groundbreaking directorial debut kickstarted not only a career, but an entirely new way of thinking about American cinema. Set in beatnik Manhattan (a locale commonly associated with the New York native), the film follows three African-American siblings who share a close bond despite their various goals, whether it be hitting it big as a musician, frequenting the local bars, or falling in love. With the free-flowing quality of jazz, a genre which dominates the soundtrack, SHADOWS remains one of the most influential films of the 1950s.

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