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February 8, 2007

OGIC: Not to be missed

From The House Next Door comes word that Charles Burnett's wondrous 1977 shoestring-budget film Killer of Sheep will be distributed to theaters for the first time ever this spring. It's been seven or eight years since I was lucky enough to see Burnett's haunting masterpiece, which was selected for the National Film Registry in 1990, part of its second crop of inducted titles. The film's distributor, Milestone Films, describes it this way:

Charles Burnett’s films focus on everyday life in black communities in a manner unseen in American cinema, combining incredibly lyrical elements with a starkly neo-realist, documentary-style approach that chronicles the unfolding story with depth and riveting simplicity.

In KILLER OF SHEEP, the protagonist, employed at the slaughterhouse, is suffering from the emotional side effects of his bloody occupation to such a degree that his entire life unhinges. His refusal to become involved in the similarly destructive, but human-focused occupations of his more affluent friends and acquaintances becomes the odd obstacle to the family’s well being. Burnett once said of the film, "[Stan’s] real problems lie within the family, trying to make that work and be a human being. You don’t necessarily win battles; you survive."

Oscar schmoscar; as far as I'm concerned, this will be the cinema event of the season. Expect more harassment from my corner leading up to its release, and remember: I only have your best interests in mind. Killer of Sheep will open in New York and Los Angeles April 6. I presume it will open in Chicago sometime thereafter, but just in case—Terry, will your Aerobed be free that weekend?

Posted February 8, 2007 12:40 PM

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