Criterion Year Week 30; Shadows

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Shadows

Spine Number: 251

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo John Cassavetes

Genre: Drama

"If American independent cinema could be said to have a birthday, Nov. 11 is as good a date to celebrate as any." - Elbert Ventura

Why November 11th? Because that is the day back in 1959 that John Cassavetes's "Shadows" premiered.

Now, up to this point movies were made by studios. Not necessarily the big studios, but due to the expense of the endeavor of making a film in one way or another, to some degree or another, a studio was involved in the process. Cameras, film, lights, talent... all that stuff cost a lot. So, even if it was some small time outfit, a studio was involved.

Enter John Cassavetes. He looked at what was happening and decided that "that's how we've always done it," was simply not a sufficient justification for producing films the way they were made. He set out to make a movie that broke, literally, every rule of  film making at the time. He didn't ask permission. He didn't follow the established channels. He ignored everything and made the movie he wanted to make. To paraphrase Ayn Rand, he didn't wonder who was going to let him make his movie, and refused to let anyone stop him.

So, employing students from the Cassavetes-Lane Drama Workshop, he set out to produce a completely self financed film. No studio, no backing company, nothing but the guts it took to make something completely on his own.

The result...

shadows.jpeg

A free form story that ignored any and all ideas of dramatic structure, didn't use a script, and only used unknown actors from the workshop. The only professional hired by Cassavetes was a cinematographer.

What resulted, regardless of your feelings on the film, was a complete and utter up ending of the status quo. Unscripted, unstructured, and as free form as any jazz album ever produced, "Shadows" put the world of film making on notice. Not only did Cassavetes deny any power to the "gatekeepers," he destroyed the gate. He told the world that all you needed to make a movie was the will to do it and a group of people crazy enough to follow it. Much like the popular statement that only a few thousand people bought the first Velvet Underground album, but that everyone who did formed a band, not many people may have seen "Shadows" when it first came out, but everyone who did tried to make their own film.

Shadows2.jpg

So, join us for week one of our five week Cassavetes exploration with a film that changed the game and erased the rules. Even if you haven't seen it, I assure you there is something for you to like in this show.

Next Week:

The journey continues with...

Spine number 252: Faces

Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows!

Right now check it out at www.thelifemasters.podbean.com.

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

http://fantasymovieleague.com/

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at thefilmthugs@gmail.com and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail thugquestions@gmail.com to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

You can also click on one of our sponsor links below and THEY will pay us. That's right. You won't have to pay a PENNY extra, and Amazon/Onnit/Teefury will give us a little taste.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...



Share | Download(Loading)