Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Killer of Sheep (1977)

The introduction of Charles Burnett's "Killer of Sheep" in THE BOOK is one of those Cinderella stories.  Originally filmed in 1977, it skyrocketed to fame when included in a survey of best movie of 2007 after a revival that included the Berlin InternationalFilm Festival.  Minimal filming technics allow a story of a common family living in the Watt's area of LA.  The lead character works in a slaughterhouse  while the time spend ON THE JOB in the movie is minimal, it seems apparent that the job itself and financial hardships, takes it's toll on him.  His interaction with wife and children though touching, seems saddened.  Though the family seems happy enough to be scrapping by, the influence of the neighborhood seems to really disappoint them at many different turns.  Also, a key element is the exposure of the children to a neighborhood where they are basically left to their own devices, and though an adult intervention would more than likely lead to stern direction, they seem to get through the growing up of their lives unscathed.  

"Killer of Sheep" was a great find.  It was shown on TCM along with several other Burnett works and and interview with the director himself.  Keep your eyes open for any opportunity to see this.



  1. I've been avoiding documentary so far in my exploration of the 1001 movies, but in browsing through the list, Killer of Sheep was definitely a stand out on my list of Docs I want to see.

    I couldn't tell you why, but documentary is one of those elements that I'm naturally hesitant to get into (similar to the few musicals that I've seen, or the silent films), but invariably I always enjoy them once I get into them.

    Keep them coming, good work!

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