"An American masterpiece, independent to the bone... This may be Mr.
Burnett's most radical truth-telling."
"A masterpiece. One of the most insightful and authentic dramas about
African-American life on film. One of the finest American films, period."
"One of the masterpieces of American cinema!"
"Way ahead of its time 30 years ago, and just as stunning today, Killer of
Sheep is one of those marvels of original moviemaking that keeps hope of
artistic independence alive... Here's to the miracle of a buried classic granted the
opposite of a killinghere's to life. A"
"Speaks to the enduring power of poetic cinema, of films with genuine artistic vision that create mood and capture emotion in ways only motion pictures can."
"The message that emergeslife is difficult but lovely just the sameis as understated as it is heroic, and in a sense, applies to the man who made the film."
"Record-breaking Opening for "Killer of Sheep" at IFC Center."
"Stunning...humane in spirit, tentatively hopeful at the end, but rock-hard
and pitiless in its honesty. Burnett persuades you that you're seeing the world
as it really is for these characters...They have the grandeur of
unchallengeable fact.... I feel safe in calling it one of the best new films of
"A welcome breath of fresh air in the world of American Cinema."
"Affectingly beautiful...Burnett used many kinds of African-American music on
the soundtrack, and the movie itself has the bedraggled eloquence of an old
"The film of the season, if not the year, is a Southern California
slice-of-life from 1977 that hasn't aged a day... A stirring and sophisticated
evocation of working-class Watts."
"As fresh and observational as it was 30 years ago, Killer of Sheep seems
even more universal now. Killer of Sheep is an urban pastoral... sweet, sardonic,
deeply sad and very funny."
"What on the surface looks so simple is in fact a densely layered, morally complex film operating on myriad levels at once. See "Killer of Sheep." Then see it again, and again. It's one of those truly rare movies that just get better."
"Miraculous... hypnotic... the surging power of old blues."
SAM ADAMS, PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER "Many films attract labels like "real" and "true," but Burnett's ignored masterpiece is one of the few to actually earn them."
MATT PRIGGE, PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY "A bittersweet sonnet."
CARRIE RICKEY, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER "Tender, playful, sobering... clings to the eyes."
BRET MCCABE, BALTIMORE CITY PAPER "The film sings... There is always this give-and-take between the earthy and the ethereal, never more so than in the digressions of children playing, in which Watts simultaneously seems depressingly abject and dreamily beautiful."
MAX GOLDBERG, SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN "Powerful... there's just no mistaking the film's importance."
MICK LASALLE, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE Susan Gerhard Interview with Charles Burnett in Green Cine
SUSAN GERHARD, GREEN CINE
"It would be shocking if a finer film than Killer of SheepAmerican or otherwiseis released in 2007."
Article and Interview with Charles Burnett
Interview with Henry Sanders, Ross Lipman, Danny Glover and Dennis Doros. You
can hear it on the net, or download the MP3 at
"No movie you'll see this year packs more life into a camera's eye."
"One of a kind."
"A landmark in black cinema, as well as a film of such eloquence that its
absence from screens could only be considered a sin."
"Killer of Sheep is a ballad, an anthem, a hymn of consistently beautiful and confounding images. So lovely. So profound."
"Burnett invests his images of ordinary activities with such emotional
resonance that the everyday becomes luminous and poetic...
Burnett has made a minor masterpiece that avoids sentimentalizing society's
victims, indulging in political cant, and implicitly exalting nihilistic
behavior. The film conveys that there is hope and beauty buried in misery, and it
does so with nary a false note."
"...without qualification or equivocation, essential viewing for anyone who
cares about the cinema as an art form. It's tempting to invoke "the poetry of
the everyday" in describing "Killer of Sheep," just as it's easy to compare it
to neorealism or verite, but Burnett's haunting visual motifs and his splendid
use of music, at once ironic and hopeful, give the film an almost dreamlike
texture. In these moments "Killer of Sheep" transcends its realistic
aesthetic, and, in his transcendence, achieves something heartbreaking and sublime."
"Even if you belong to that modest group of film buffs who've actually seen
"Killer of Sheep," this restoration feels like an entirely new movie.
Burnett is profoundly uninterested in boosterism or propaganda or false
optimism. He has belonged to the long tradition of prophets without honor, but he
may finally be getting his due. In his peculiar and lonely fashion he's not
only the most important African-American director but one of the most distinctive
filmmakers this country has ever produced."
"A landmark in the history of American realism, a classic film of black life,
and nothing less than a masterpiece."
"A cinephile's Holy Grail... lingers in the mind and creates a series of inner city Sisyphean tableaus."
"With this rerelease, it's now clear that the roster of the 1970s renaissance filmmakers#151Scorsese, Coppola, Altman, De Palma#151needs to include Burnett."
"Through a relentless focus on character#15on everyday people and their everyday lives#151Burnett manages to find the universal in the specific, depicting the timeless struggle of men and women to#151as Washington sings#151ensure that the dust does not obscure the glow of the rose."
"Haunting...socially relevant and poetic."
"Killer of Sheep is a revelation...a telling story of ghetto life that continues to resonate 30 years after the movie was made."
"A film full of miracles...in which the whole does more than exceed
the sum of it utterly unknowable parts; it exceeds the sum of
expectations, mythology and hype."
"Killer of Sheep can be seen (and reseen) as a greatthe greatestcinematic tone poem of American urban life."
"[Killer of Sheep] casts a peculiar spell that by the end leaves you not only emotionally charged because of the people and places and events you've seen, but filled with a new sense of what movies are and what they can do."
"It's hard not to hope that Killer of Sheep will influence a new generation of artists-of any color."
"A flat-out treasure, impervious to time."
"Charles Burnett is the most gifted and important black filmmaker this country has ever had."
"One of the most striking debuts in movie history."
Proclaimed a national treasure by the National Film Registry of the Library
"There may be no better contemporary American filmmaker who has so richly evoked the infinite varieties and textures of life, black or otherwise."
"If it were an Italian film from 1953, we would have every scene memorized."
"Soul-pounding. Blistering. Stunning."
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