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Shadows (12A)

Bebop New York

Shot of man with cigarette

John Cassavetes’ directorial debut bottles the excitement of 50s bohemian New York – all late-night parties, smoky nightclubs and existentialist chat.

The story revolves around an interracial romance between Leila, a light-skinned black woman, and Tony, a white man. When Tony meets Leila’s darker-skinned jazz singer brother Hugh at a party, and discovers her racial heritage is not what he thought, suddenly the relationship is thrown into crisis.

Often credited as the first true American indie, Shadows was shot on location with a cast of novice actors from Cassavetes’ drama workshop using a script developed from their improvisations. All this, the jumpy editing, free-focus camerawork and riffs from Charlie Mingus and Shafi Hadi on the soundtrack, give the film a raw, spontaneous feel entirely unlike the Hollywood movies of the time.

US 1959 Dir John Cassavetes 82 min 35mm presentation

The Bebop New York film season accompanies the major exhibition Lee Krasner: Living Colour in the Art Gallery from 30 May – 1 Sep 2019.

Please arrive promptly at the advertised start time

Proof of ID may be requested on entry to films, in compliance with BBFC ratings


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Barbican Cinema 3