After a six-year effort, Killer of Sheep will have its first-ever theatrical distribution. One of the most famous and acclaimed films by an African-American filmmaker, Killer of Sheep was one of the first 50 films to be selected for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry and was chosen by the National Society of Film Critics as one of the 100 Essential Films. But the film has rarely been screened, and then only in ragged 16mm prints. On the film’s thirtieth anniversary, all rights have been cleared the UCLA Film and Television Archive’s dazzling 35mm restoration of this landmark film will screen around the world.
Killer of Sheep will screen first at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival and then have its US premieres in New York at the IFC Center on March 30 and in Los Angeles at the Nuart Theatre on April 6.
Killer of Sheep is set in Watts in the mid-1970s. Haunted by his work at a slaughterhouse, Stan, a sensitive dreamer, struggles to keep from becoming detached and numb. 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 to the radio, holding his daughter. The film offers no solution, it merely presents life; sometimes hauntingly bleak, sometimes filled with transcendent joy and humor.
Director Charles Burnett says of the film: “Stan’s real problem lies within the family, trying to make that work and be a human being. You don’t necessarily win battles; you survive.” Above all, Killer of Sheep is a magnificent cinematic experience; one that will change viewers’ lives forever.
The film stars Henry Gayle Sanders as Stan, Kaycee Moore, Charles Bracy, Angela Burnett, Eugene Cherry, and Jack Drummond.