Characterized by a heady, un-Hollywood blend of improvisation and neorealism, this stunningly innovative film was a harbinger of the coming New American Cinema. Shadows charts in intense close-up the existential crises of three African-American siblings in Manhattan during the late 1950s, with Charles Mingus riffs to jazz up their long nights of the soul. Cassavetes and his acting workshop colleagues developed the script as they went along, positioning the Method actor as auteur and avoiding artificial narrative closure in favor of ambiguity and immediacy of actual experience. Shadows was one of the 35 outstanding directorial debuts showcased 25 years ago in the Walter Reade Theater’s inaugural series, “Great Beginnings: First Films by Great Directors.”