Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #114 Shadows

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Movie #114 Shadows

(1959, US, d. John Cassavetes)

This is not a film for the regular movie-goer, because placing myself in those shoes, I would consider this film to be quite boring. I must say that most of my enjoyment of this film came after I read the Criterion Collection packet. This was my first venture into a Cassavetes film and to be honest, I was nervous that I wasn’t going to like him. Shadows was made very interestingly: Rather than beginning with a regular script as most movies do, Cassavetes instead employed a sort of quasi-improvisational style to the piece. He held rehearsals with amateur actors and told them to use their characters to create a story about modern urban life. What it turned out to be was, in my opinion, one of the most insightful and genuine portraits of people, in general. It must have no doubt stemmed from his own career as an actor, but the amount of trust and dependance he places on the actors is immense. His theory is that the audience does not care for theatrics or technical brilliance. Rather they only care about characters and that’s what he tries to highlight in his films. Granted the 21st century has a put a small damper on his theory as every recent summer has contained its fair share of VFX-heavy and stylized pictures with zero character development, I think what he refers to are good films, not movies that make money. And good films always begin with good characters.


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