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Killer of Sheep / My Brother's Wedding (2d)

Director(s): Charles Burnett

Theatrical Release: 1977 / 198

Cast: Henry Sanders, Kaycee Moore, Charles Bracy, Angela Burnett, Eugene Cherry, Everett Silas

Genre(s): Drama, culture, Family

Countries: USA

Location in store:

(2 / 2)
Ant Rating
Running Time:

KILLER OF SHEEP (1977, USA, 81m) - The first feature film from acclaimed independent African American filmmaker Charles Burnett, this intensely emotional drama concerns a man who makes his living at a slaughterhouse as he struggles for economic and emotional survival and tries to patch up his often strained relationship with his family. Shot on weekends over a period of several years and first shown publicly in 1977, Killer of Sheep slowly but surely began to develop a potent reputation among film enthusiasts; in 1981, it won honors at the Berlin International Film Festival and an enthusiastic reception at the Sundance Film Festival. It was added to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry in 1990. (

MY BROTHER'S WEDDING 91983/2007, USA, 83m/118m) - Everett Silas plays a 30-year-old black male who works at the Watts dry cleaning business owned by his family. He is quite comfortable with the debilitated African-American community around him--but not with his brother, who has escaped the ghetto and achieved prosperity as a lawyer. The day of his brother's wedding is the same day as the funeral of his best friend. Silas thus has only twenty-four hours to make a permanent decision: whether to cast his lot with the underprivileged, as represented by his late friend, or with those who aspire for better things, represented by his brother. My Brother's Wedding has the crudity to be expected of an independent production, but also has more honesty and energy than most mainstream films dealing with internal racial divisiveness. (


2-DVD Special Edition Bonus Features:

! 3 Rediscovered Charles Burnett Short Films:

--Several Friends (1969, 23m) - In this student film from Killer of Sheep director Charles Burnett, an African-American family drifts through the streets of South Central Los Angeles with a close-knit group of unemployed friends. (

--The Horse (1973, 13m) - In a barren country landscape far removed from the chaos of the city, a group of characters including a very young boy gather around in anticipation of an unavoidable act of violence. (

--When it Rains (1995, 12m) - Filmmaker Charles Burnett directs this short form parable on the value of community set in 1960s-era Watts, and following a concerned mother who is struggling to raise enough money so that she and her children won't be evicted. As the day wears on and the weary mother runs into a series of eccentric characters, her monetary quest grows increasingly comical. (

! Quiet as Kept (2007, 5m) - Charles Burnett's new short on Hurricane Katrina

! Killer of Sheep Audio Commentary track With Charles Burnett and Richard Pena

! Documentary With Cast of Killer of Sheep by Film's Archivist Ross Lipman

! Killer of Sheep Trailer

! Liner Notes by Film Critic Armond White