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Killer Of Sheep (free)

  • Vilas Hall 821 University Avenue Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

While this fall's UW Cinematheque schedule is filled with celluloid tricks and treats, particularly for fans of Almodóvar and George A. Romero, it also boasts a less flashy but no less important tribute to revered American filmmaker Charles Burnett, beginning with his 1977 feature debut, Killer Of Sheep. Shot in black and white, this touching portrait of black in life in late 1970s south-central L.A. might be one of the great American films of its time. Amid the post-riot desolation of the Watts district, working-class hero Stan (Henry G. Sanders) braves the horrors of working in a slaughterhouse in addition to navigating the pitfalls of street life in an urban landscape. While the situation seems hopeless, the hallmark of this beautiful film is that the characters do not fall into the despair that tends to mar more modern portrayals of urban life. Stan maintains a quiet dignity through it all even while the trappings of poverty and joblessness lay waste to those around him, and Burnett portrays his struggles through a lens of poignant lyricism. UW Cinematheque has managed to bring viewers a restored 4K print and  this screening will certainly be a treat. The series continues on September 15 with Bless Their Little Hearts, and Burnett will be visiting in person for a September 22 screening of To Sleep With Anger. —Edwanike Harbour

Earlier Event: September 8
Strollin' Middleton (free)
Later Event: September 8
Maria Bamford