Tuesday, May 29, 2007

killer of sheep

photographic additions to my essential cinema list.

charles burnett's killer of sheep, 1977.
my teachers in film school were obsessed with this film and showed it at least once a semester. it is certainly a classic in american cinema, surely in the same league as the work of john cassavetes. now hopefully this and shirley clarke's the connection and the cool world will make it to dvd.


shahn said...

this is an amazing movie! i loved the sound and the music. i noticed the credits had 4 sound people listed,on two separate occasions. and it wouldn't be half the film it is without that music.

the art of memory said...

that is strange, i didn't notice.
the music is really something, makes me want to rent the robeson movies.
i have been thinking about the "great man" thing in relation to the sheep killer.
it is funny that i am reading the idiot about the "ideal-man" that is described as a non-comic don quixote.
the sheep killer really does relate, and the contrast to the children (innocence) is interesting, but they have not yet experienced melancholia......

shahn said...

i like how he remains a good man in a less-than-ideal situation, despite all the temptations to participate in dishonorable ways.

were your teachers each showing this film to highlight different aspects? i'm curious.

the art of memory said...

yes indeed, and his wife helps him out,
such a beautiful film.
i don't remember what the contexts where, they would show alot of black cinema like oscar michaux, shirley clark, ed bland, paul robeson, some others. made a big impression, but these people are invisible for most people, it is sad. but killer of sheep getting rereleased is a good sign, and the robeson criterion.

Anonymous said...

I believe this was Charles Burnett's senior film. I saw him give a talk some years back in Austin. He shot the film on the weekends over the span of a year. They showed a beautiful print of the film after his talk. I loved it.

the art of memory said...

yes, ucla right?
was it a good talk? such an interesting and unusual film.