Mid-Century Movie Nights: Shadows
Fri, Jun 10, 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm


The series Mid-Century Movie Nights concludes with a screening of Shadows, 1959, directed by John Cassavetes, featuring Ben Carruthers, Lelia Goldoni, Hugh Hurd, Rupert Crosse, Anthony Ray.

Cassavetes’ improvisational debut film explores interracial friendships and relationships in Beat-Era (1950s) New York City. The film revolves around three African American siblings–Hugh, a dark-skinned brother, and Lelia and Ben, both light enough to pass as white, which Lelia does, leading to the film’s main dramatic event. Casting his own acting students in the roles, Cassavetes captures the unease of the time, the disaffection, misunderstanding, sexual uncertainty, and the staking of one’s happiness on corny American dreams. Shadows was shot on location in Manhattan, with unpermitted Midtown street scenes, raucus party backdrops, and intimate diner, hotel room, and apartment settings. With its neorealist penchant for the mundane and fitful pacing, Shadows is widely considered the forerunner of American independent cinema.

This program is free to attend with a suggested donation of $5. Doors open at 7 pm; screening begins at 7:20 pm. Seating is limited to 30; attendance is mask optional.

Mid-Century Movie Nights is a six-film series taking place on Friday nights between May 6th and June 10th, co-curated by Cheryl Clarke and Mina Takahashi. The films, made between 1945 and 1959, give present-day viewers the opportunity to ponder the weight of the post-World War II era on its generation. From Rome to Tokyo, to the US Southwest, then to France, over to the Indian subcontinent, and back to gritty Manhattan, the films ask us to consider their subjects’ alienation, perseverance, and survival. As we witness the 1950s fascist regimes, exploitative working conditions, the loneliness of ageing, the indignities of poverty, the complexity of racial ambiguity, and the subtle and not-so-subtle ways racism and sexism play out, we ask ourselves today, what has stubbornly endured, and what has changed for the better?


Cheryl Clarke is a poet and one of the organizers of the annual Hobart Festival of Women Writers. Her most recent book is Targets, published by Bushel Editions in 2020. She spends weekends processing books in her partner’s bookstore, Blenheim Hill Books, one of six bookstores in the Book Village of Hobart.

Mina Takahashi is a working collective member of Bushel. She lives in Delhi, edits Hand Papermaking magazine, and is involved in a number of community initiatives including Catskills Unity, Delaware County Citizens for Refugee Support (DCCRS), and Get Woke! Catskills.