Celebrate American Indie Cinema & Watch John Cassavetes’ “Shadows” Today

Considered one of the fathers of American indie cinema, John Cassavetes would have been 81 years young today, were he still alive.

Why not celebrate his birthday by watching his directorial debut, Shadows, the improvisational film that revolves around an interracial romance between Lelia (Lelia Goldoni), a light-skinned black woman living in New York City with her two brothers, and Tony (Anthony Ray), a white man, who isn’t aware of her true racial heritage. The relationship crumbles when Tony meets Lelia’s brother Hugh (Hugh Hurd), a dark-skinned jazz singer struggling to find work, and learns that the woman he’s been involved with is actually black.

The film was shot on location in New York City, with a cast and crew made up primarily of amateurs. Shadows is widely considered a visionary work, and the forerunner of the American independent film movement.

Netflix carries it as an “Instant Watch” title,
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Netflix Watch Instantly Adds Five Films From John Cassavetes [Criterion On Netflix]

Netflix has once again added several films available in the Criterion Collection, to their streaming “Watch Instantly” line-up. While their additions over the past few months have been few and far between, they have nevertheless been consistently great choices.

Over the past few days they have been adding the various John Cassavetes films that are available in the “Five Films” box set, save the documentary “A Constant Forge.” You can now watch Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie, and Opening Night through their web interface, or through their various other devices (Roku boxes, the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, or select Blu-ray players).

With Redbox ramping up plans to implement a streaming service, Netflix continues to show it’s dedication to expanding it’s library of important films available at a minimal cost to it’s customers.

To see all of the Criterion Collection films available on Netflix Watch Instantly,
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DVD Review: Two John Cassavetes Classics Are Inducted Into Criterion Collection

Chicago – Entries number 251 and number 252 in the most important and impressive series of DVDs in the history of the format, The Criterion Collection, come from the same influential writer/director, one of the godfathers of the independent film industry, John Cassavetes. Both are worthwhile additions to any serious film collector’s shelf.

DVD Rating: 4.5/5.0 The first of the pair is the half-century old “Shadows,” Cassavetes’ directorial debut. As the credit so perfectly says “Improvised/Directed by John Cassavetes”. These visionary films were the forerunner of the American independent film movement - creative people getting together with a camera to create art.

Shadows was released on DVD on February 17th, 2009.

Photo credit: Courtesy of the Criterion Collection Those creative people in “Shadows” were headed by Lelia Goldoni and Anthony Ray. Goldoni plays a character of the same name, a light-skinned black woman living in New York City with her two brothers.
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