CANCELED: Free Member Screening: Killer of Sheep

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New 35mm Print!
Open to BAMPFA members only, this free screening is part of Member Appreciation Month. Not yet a member? Join today!


Henry Gayle Sanders, Kaycee Moore, Charles Bracy, Angela Burnett,

“A great—the greatest—cinematic tone poem of American urban life” (David Edelstein, New York), Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep evokes the everyday trials, fragile pleasures, and tenacious humor of blue-collar African Americans in 1970s Watts. Burnett made the film on a minuscule budget with a mostly nonprofessional cast, combining keen on-the-street observation with a carefully crafted script. The episodic plot centers on the character of Stan (Henry Gayle Sanders), a slaughterhouse worker mired in exhaustion, disconnected from his wife, his children, and himself. Stan and his neighbors struggle just to get by, let alone get ahead; as befits an L.A. movie, vehicular metaphors of breakdown abound. Only the kids, leaping from roof to roof, seem to achieve a mobility that eludes their elders.

Juliet Clark
  • Charles Burnett
  • Charles Burnett
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 81 mins

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Killer of Sheep documents  

The films of Charles Burnett (program note), Harvard Film Archive, 2008

Killer of sheep (program note), Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin, 2007

A vision of Watts still frozen in time (article), Los Angeles Times, Mary McNamara, 2007

L.A. story (article), Village Voice, J. Hoberman, 2007

The unobserved life (review), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), Jonathan Rosenbaum, 2007

Killer of sheep (review), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), Jonathan Rosenbaum, 2007

Killer of sheep (program note), London Film Festival, Paul Taylor, 2007

A classic gets a new release on life (review), Los Angeles Times, Dennis Lim, 2007

Independent lens: Charles Burnett (article), L.A. Weekly, Scott Foundas, 2006

Killer of sheep (review), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), Jonathan Rosenbaum, 2003

Displaying 10 of 36 publicly available documents.

View all Killer of Sheep documentation on CineFiles.