Down in Shadowland (2014) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A five year project involving filming on NYC subway. Camera observes people and events unaware they are being filmed. Emotional, intimate and deeply human. All done by director Tom DiCillo. He shot, edited and mixed the film by himself with the aim of making a film without any financial or marketing restrictions.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • If the whole of humanity were marched before our eyes, it might resemble Down in Shadowland, a descent into the subterranean universe of the iconic New York City subway. Told in eight parts, each probing ever more deeply into the human psyche, Shadowland is a profound meditation on the human condition. This is a world where the camera is restless, constantly exploring, unearthing private movements, holding until we are struck with revelation. A telephone receiver hangs down, an impotent reminder of disconnect, like the hordes of people oblivious of one another. Just when we think were following someone, they disappear. The train itself becomes both serpent and protector, alternately maniacal and comforting. Every strata of life howling madmen, distracted mothers, sleepy children reveals itself.

    Bold, masterful and entirely unpredictable with a soundtrack that propels us forward with the velocity of the train itself, Shadowland is a remarkable film that leaves no doubt we are in the hands of a master. Barbara Pokras, ACE

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