KILLER OF SHEEP

V'07

KILLER OF SHEEP

Charles Burnett
USA, 1977
Fiction, 80min, OF

KILLER OF SHEEP

Charles Burnett
USA, 1977
Fiction, 80min, OF

Cast: 
Henry Gayle Sanders
Stan
Kaycee Moore
Stans Ehefrau
Charles Bracy
Bracy
Angela Burnett
Stans Tochter
Eugene Cherry
Eugene
Jack Drummond
Stans Sohn
Screenplay: 
Charles Burnett
Sound: 
Charles Burnett
Camera: 
Charles Burnett
Editor: 
Charles Burnett
Composer: 
Charles Burnett

Production: 
Charles Burnett
World Sales: 
Milestone Film & Video PO Box 128, Harrington Park New Jersey, NJ 07640, USA T 201 767 3117 info@milestonefilm.com
Format: 
35 mm
Black/White
Restaurierte Fassung

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