Dallas VideoFest 27: Killer of Sheep
Dallas VideoFest will present Killer of Sheep. For 30 years, Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep has been considered a masterpiece by critics and the few moviegoers who have been able to see it. Because it was made in 16mm as a student project, Burnett could not afford the music rights or the conversion to 35mm, which might have interested a distributor. Instead the film languished, only to become legendary in film schools and among hardcore cinephiles.
Now this quiet view of the ordinary daily life of a Watts family, whose head of household kills sheep in a slaughter house, has been restored, the music rights have been purchased, and it has been transferred to 35mm. As Roger Ebert says, "(Burnett) pays attention to the heroic efforts of a man and wife to make a good home for their children. Poverty in the ghetto is not the guns and drugs we see on TV. It is more often like life in this movie: Good, honest, hard-working people trying to get by, keep up their hopes, love their children, and get a little sleep."