Sunday, 3 November 2013

Killer of Sheep

Killer of Sheep - Charles Burnett – DVD – With a stunning soundtrack of bluesy soul ( Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong, Scott Joplin, Elmore James – and plenty of others), black and white visuals and naturalistic (often sparse, or to hard to hear) dialogue, this film creates an immersive near documentary portrait of a black community in urban L.A. It is the sense of unadorned reality that makes the film such a beautiful watch: scenes of quiet discontent, relationships that need work but that are ultimately fine, kids playing in the street and the boredom of everyday, all conspire to evoke a very real and relatable community. The song that serves as the film’s emotional backbone finds its form in Dinah Washington’s chilling and moving ‘This Bitter Earth’. A song that has been powerfully reimagined, with the added emotional gravitas of Max Richter, for the final credits in Scorsese’s Shutter Island. 7/10

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