Killer of Sheep. 1977. USA. Written and directed by Charles Burnett. With Henry Gayle Sanders, Kaycee Moore, Jack Drummond, Angela Burnett. 35mm. 80 min.
An African American man, unable to provide for his children or satisfy his wife, is enveloped in perpetual despair. As hard as this young father tries to lead a dignified life, he can’t ever seem to hold his head up high. A natural spontaneity connects one fragmented scene to the next, offering a sense of freedom that allows space for the characters to fully develop. The authentic portrayal of African American life provides a radically different vision from the Blaxploitation films of the time. Charles Burnett made this as his thesis film at UCLA, using school equipment and salvaged 16mm film stock.