Monday, October 11, 2010

Killer of Sheep (1977)

I watched another of Roger's Great Movie picks, Killer of Sheep from 1977. I had seen it before and really enjoyed it , and I liked it even better this time. Roger says in his review : What he captures above all in Killer of Sheep is the deadening ennui of hot, empty summer days, the dusty passage of time when windows and screen doors stood open, and the way the breathless day crawls past. And he pays attention to the heroic efforts of this man and wife to make a good home for their children. Poverty in the ghetto is not the guns and drugs we see on TV. It is more often like life in this movie: Good, honest, hard-working people trying to get by, keep up their hopes, love their children and get a little sleep."
There are so many things I like about this movie. In the way the days just unfold it reminds me of the day in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. But it is even more realistic than that. It almost looks like someone's home movies. The film is grainy and the scenes are true. The movie is well worth watching just for the music alone.
Killer of Sheep is to 1977 Watts what Rome : Open City or Germany Year Zero were to Rome or Berlin in the 1940's. It is a neorealistic look at a society with all the glamour stripped away. But unlike those societies, which were the result of the World War, the society portrayed in Killer of Sheep, is the result of the complex historical and societal events that led up to it.
There probably isn't much of a market for great movies like this. The people who are going through this kind of life want to escape from it, not be reminded of it, and others don't want to admit that it exists. However, the critically acclaimed movies of Ramin Bahrani, (Chop Shop, Goodbye Solo and Man Push Cart) do have the style and feel of Killer of Sheep.
A fascinating movie, really well done movie. Another great pick from Roger.