Nov 6, 2017 in Review

The Movie Shadows

The Shadows movie is a great illustration of the beliefs resulting from revolutions that were taking place as a result of actions of the Beat generation.  Cassavetes uses the movie to drive home the beliefs that he had about the literary world while at the same time bringing to the fore the problems that ordinary people were facing in the society. That was a slight deviation from what was conventionally taken place in the movie world before the Beat generation. The movie truly illustrates the Beat generation’s attitudes and views towards the norms of the society.

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The society at that time was witnessing the rise of a generation referred to as the Beat generation that differed from the mainstream artists in their view of acting and writing of scripts. The writers associated with the Beat generation had views and approaches that differed from the conventional way that artists and authors of the time subscribed to. These people were against adoption of certain elements of the society that were gaining prominence and that exactly what Cassavetes tries to bring out in the movie. The element of acting in the studio was adopted many years ago, but Cassavetes was opposed to that, preferring to have his movies acted in the open without any stage acting. This made the movies look real and even though this would cost him a lot of money he never dropped it.

The Beat generation opposed certain elements such as abstinence, which is why characters in the movie are depicted to engage in sex frequently and they make it look very casual. The society at the time had not accepted casual sex amongst people and was still more conservative when it came to the topic of sex. Cassavetes, on the other hand, had the beliefs of the Beat generation which were bent on opposed to conforming to the ethics and virtue accepted in the society at that time. Relationships between whites and blacks at that time were strained due to the racism which was on going. However, Cassavetes portrays two young people of different races getting into a relationship.  This was not expected at that time due to the tension and animosity such a relationship would have faced from both races involved. But according to the characters in the movie the relationship is viewed as acceptable and does not seem to face any obstacles that would have been expected from the society.

Cassavetes depicted his view about the society in manners that appeared reckless at best. By shooting movies outside the studio and portraying the issue in the society in manner that brought controversy, he clearly shows his attitude towards the practices in the society. He shows his hatred to conformism by ensuring that he deviates from the norm regardless of how expensive it is on his career and projects. His choice of characters was also different from what other directors were doing. He seems to prefer characters in the movie that make the situation so real even if it is not practical in the society.

Cassavetes is not afraid of bringing out the feelings that people harbor in their hearts, but are never willing to accept them or even talk about them. The issues such as racism were greatly affecting the society in the 1950s, and this was a stumbling block to inter-racial relationships. This meant that people would admire partners from the other race, but would never admit that. Cassavetes captures that and shows what exactly would happen and this is a true reflection of the society. People are afraid to admit they attach little importance to sex and view it casually, but Cassavetes does that in the movie. The Shadow is a true celebration of the Beat generation and truly reflects the non-conformist attitude of the generation.


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