Killer of Sheep
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This film has no current screenings
Completed in ’77 but difficult to see for nearly thirty years due to soundtrack licensing issues, Charles Burnett’s landmark UCLA thesis film is a haunting, almost documentary-like chronicle of 1970s black life in Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood. A series of nonlinear episodes form a portrait of slaughterhouse worker Stan, struggling to provide for his family and resist the corrupting influences that surround him. Amidst urban blight, Burnett finds indelible, magic images—a young girl wearing a hound-dog mask, boys leaping from rooftop to rooftop, a couple slow dancing to Dinah Washington’s “This Bitter Earth”—captured in evocatively grainy black-and-white and set to music that moves from Paul Robeson to Rachmaninoff.