Retro

BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS

Billy Woodberry
USA 1984
85 min
V'08

Last year, Charles Burnett's 1977 debut Killer of Sheep finally got the theatrical release and large audience denied it for 30 years. Depending on Hollywood's timetable or yours, this marvelous 1984 slice-of-life drama is either six years ahead of schedule for discovery or 24 long years overdue. Like Killer of Sheep, Bless Their Little Hearts is an elliptical yet richly drawn black-and-white portrait of an African-American family man, Charlie Banks (note the initials), strugg-ling to hold onto his flagging pride without money or fulfilling work. Since Charlie (Nate Hardman, in a crumbling edifice of a performance) hasn't had a job in years, scuffling and scavenging to keep his marriage and family barely together, the situation in Woodberry's film is even more grave than it was in Killer of Sheep - and yet, the balm of the blues and laughter here is even more restorative. The movie's comedy is the humor of precise we've-all-been-there observation, as when Charlie's little girl (Burnett's own daughter Angela) finds an ingenious way to dislodge the bathroom faucet that her daddy has clamped tight. Given a spine of steel by Kaycee Moore's blazing performance as Charlie's seething wife, and a groove as deep as silt by a superlative soundtrack of gospelly R&B and jazz, Bless Their Little Hearts forms with Killer of Sheep a landmark diptych about work as the crucible of the American character - either in its abundance or its absence.
Jim Ridley
«Village Voice»
New York 5. Februar 2008

Credits
  • Kaycee Moore - Stans Ehefrau
  • Angela Burnett - Stans Tochter
  • Eugene Cherry - Eugene
  • Nate Hardman
  • Ronald Burnett
  • Kimberly Burnett
  • Ellis Griffin
  • Ernest Knight
  • Lawrence Pierott
Billy Woodberry
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