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Killer of Sheep

Endurance, love and commitment in Killer of Sheep.

Burnett shot this in LA’s Watts district in the early 1970s, with a mostly unprofessional cast. Now, 30 years on, it gets to the cinema – Burnett simply hadn’t been able to raise the fees for use of the soundtrack music.

It’s a beautifully composed episodic study of Stan, a slaughterhouse worker, his family, friends and community. Like Couscous, it’s about endurance, and the love and commitment of family and friends, but is never sentimental or rosy. Unadorned, un-pretty, sometimes harsh, its images stay in the mind. A rediscovered classic.