Charles Burnett
USA 1977
80 min

Made while Burnett was a 33-year-old grad student at UCLA, Killer of Sheep is a study of social paralysis in South Central Los Angeles a dozen years after the Watts insurrection. The subject matter harks back to the heyday of Italian neorealism but Burnett uses the film language of experimental documentaries. Sui generis, Killer of Sheep is an urban pastoral - an episodic series of scenes that are sweet, sardonic, deeply sad, and very funny. It's a movie of enigmatic antics, odd juxtapositions, disorienting close-ups, and visual gags. However original, Killer of Sheep has had only a subterranean influence. More recently, there have been the movies of Southern regionalist David Gordon Green, whose George Washington mined much of its eccentricity from Burnett's film. But not even Burnett seems to have followed through on his youthful explorations; it was seven years before he completed a second feature, not that he has ever ceased working. Perhaps when someone writes the reception history of American independent cinema, it will be explained how and when Killer of Sheep - which had its original screenings at museums and underground showcases - came to be considered not just a good but a great movie. (Jim Hoberman)

Restored copy

  • Henry Gayle Sanders - Stan
  • Kaycee Moore - Stans Ehefrau
  • Charles Bracy - Bracy
  • Angela Burnett - Stans Tochter
  • Eugene Cherry - Eugene
  • Jack Drummond - Stans Sohn
  • Charles Burnett
  • Charles Burnett
  • Charles Burnett
  • Charles Burnett
  • Charles Burnett
Charles Burnett

Milestone Film & Video PO Box 128, Harrington Park New Jersey, NJ 07640, USA T 201 767 3117

35 mm
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