Cassavetes is best known for his later work, but he already made a splash with his very first film. Shadows feels more modern than its production year suggests, probably because of its improvisational nature. It makes it slightly more impressive, though I never quite got into the drama.
Benny is a dark boy who lives in Manhattan. He is a talented musician, but still runs into prejudice from time to time. His sister Lelia has a lighter skin tone and finds it easier to mix with white people. She falls in love with a white boy, but mixed relationships are still quite troublesome.
Cassavetes' film offers a nice peek into the beat scene of that time. Sadly, some performances are pretty weak and the music didn't really appeal to me either. The film is rather short, and it does feel less constricted and less fake than many of its contemporaries, but it wasn't a roaring success for me.