John Cassavetes' Shadows is one of the most important and influential movies of American independent cinema. Shot on location in New York City in gritty, naturalistic black-and-white, it was one of the first American efforts to exhibit the urgent, spontaneous look and feel of French New Wave films. Cassavetes had been a reasonably well-known actor, but his first directorial effort was a world apart from the popular dramas of the era. Shadows set the tone for personal, independently made features for decades to come: it tackled controversial subject matter, featured a cast of unknowns, and had a distinctly unprofessional veneer in most technical aspects. The candidness of the performances and the audacity of the director set it apart: the script was largely influenced by the actors during their rehearsals. In initial screenings, Shadows was shunned by audiences; Cassavetes reworked much of it and re-released the film to greater success.