This event is presented in association with The Wattis Institute
Killer of Sheep (1978, 83min., directed by Charles Burnett)
Made with a budget of $10,000, Killer of Sheep examines the black Los Angeles ghetto of Watts in the mid-1970s through the eyes of Stan, a sensitive dreamer who is growing detached and numb from the psychic toll of working at a slaughterhouse. Frustrated by money problems, he finds respite in moments of simple beauty: the warmth of a coffee cup against his cheek, slow dancing with his wife in the living room, holding his daughter. The film offers no solutions; it merely presents life — sometimes hauntingly bleak, sometimes filled with transcendent joy and gentle humor.
The Library of Congress has declared the film a national treasure as one of the first fifty on the National Film Registry, and the National Society of Film Critics selected it as one of the “100 Essential Films” of all time. Killer of Sheep brings together a directorial style that is indebted to the work of Federico Fellini, a filmmaker who is greatly admired by David Hammons, as well as the realities of the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles where Hammons lived in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
This screening is followed by a rare in-person appearance by director Charles Burnett, in conversation with art historian Jacqueline Francis, Associate Professor at California College of the Arts.
(Above Image from Killer of Sheep, Charles Burnett, 1978)