Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Charles Burnett's Wedding

The 2007 theatrical release of Charles Burnett's 1977 drama Killer of Sheep was a landmark cinema event. The poetic and raggedly beautiful portrait of a Watts slaughterhouse worker was rescued from obscurity, and the director was catapulted into a long overdue fame.

Now, Burnett's lost second feature My Brother's Wedding, from 1983, has been released and is being shown as part of the Northwest Film Forum's L.A. Rebellion retrospective of African-American indie cinema. Set and shot in South Central L.A. with a largely nonprofessional cast, the film offers a world of complex family dynamics and social relations, shot before a complicated background of a loving neighborhood riddled with violence. The film remained unfinished until 2007, when Milestone Films - who also rescued Killer of Sheep - acquired the rights from its German financiers.

Charles Burnett will attend the screening at NWFF on Friday night, and on Saturday he will be at the screening of Bless Their Hearts which he shot for director Billy Woodberry in 1984. Saturday's screening is preceded by a free talk between Burnett and UW Professor of Social and Behavior Sciences Clarence Spigner. A bargain at $10, and tickets are available here.

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