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  • Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Finally... 27 Oct. 2007
By Kippered Herring - Published on
Emerging from the shadows a sort of film urban legend is Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep, made in 1977 as his UCLA graduate thesis and finally given wide release thanks to film preservationists and Steven Soderbergh. For years I've had to listen to how great this film was without actually experiencing it for myself and now... let's just say I've only had the occasion three or four times to see a movie and realize that the director was put on earth specifically to make that film. An ethnographic study of life in the Watts ghetto of Los Angeles, Burnett's movie takes the best element of Renoir's romantic abstractions, Rossellini's neorealist cityscapes, Satyajit Ray's family dramas, Kenneth Anger's thematically and musically-linked visuals and Cassavetes' naked 16mm textures and mixes them into a sad and funny visual essay. Artistic camerawork and lighting, disorienting editing, the employment of nonprofessional but striking actors and virtuoso use of pop music confine Burnett's approach to no one recognizable style: instead, they form an audacious and wholly original aesthetic. Made up largely of a collection of entropic events from the neighborhood with supporting characters who comes and go, the film is sparse on dialogue, but Burnett speaks through the mise en scene in unique moments of narrative spontaneity. While the tone moves ambiguously between tender and bittersweet, social and isolated, frivolous and crushing, the overall feel of the film is simply vitalizing. Even through the grimness of its shots of tiny lambs moving to the voice of Dinah Washington, oblivious to their impending slaughter, Burnett discovers a transcendent beauty. Everyone owes it to himself to see it.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Unforgettable movie. 21 Sept. 2007
By Mark Wyn - Published on
Verified Purchase
I saw this film a few months ago when it was shown for a weekend here in St. Louis. It is a masterpiece and truly unforgettable. No wonder the Library of Congress picked it as one of the top 25 movies in all of American film history. The scene with the couple dancing to Dinah Washington's, "This Bitter Earth", will haunt you for days after seeing the film.
42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Great Film(s)...Inconsiderate Packaging 5 Dec. 2007
By C. Roberts - Published on
Verified Purchase
This is a review of ONLY THE POORLY-DESIGNED PACKAGING of the great film "Killer of Sheep". Other reviewers have discussed the merits of this brilliant film and the unfortunately-neglected accompanying feature, "My Brother's Wedding".

Like the equally-frustrating--but aesthetically pleasing--recent edition of "I Am Cuba", Milestone has released fine-quality transfers of these significant and previously-unavailable films; however, they have shown customers little respect by packaging them in a way which compromises the DVDs themselves.

The DVDs are stuck into--truly--the tightest pouches of a cardboard DVD case. Not only were the DVDs slid in once by the manufacturer--scratching the playing surfaces--but you must pull them out with some effort from the too-tight pouches to view them, thus scratching them again. For the price of this product, a standard plastic (double) snapcase would be reasonable to expect and much more secure storage.

Unfortunately, this is the only way to purchase "Killer of Sheep". I suggest pulling out the DVD's carefully and then placing them in another DVD case to prevent further desecration with subsequent viewings.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
hustle and flow 11 Jan. 2008
By Boxodreams - Published on
Perhaps the most striking, or is it subtly impactful, things about Killer of Sheep are the children; children that climb and fight and laugh and sing and kick and crawl out from under things, and leave bikes behind as if property meant nothing when they're brought up in a world where nothing is not only a given, but practically a birthright. These are kids that are like kids, not hollywood creations, beautifully represented with the logic of children. the film opens with a stern reprimand to take some responsibility by a father to a boy of about 13, and as soon as that wake-up call is administered, it is punctuated with a slap in the face by the mother, and from that moment on the film is plunged into a lethargy so profound that you can feel the stifling heat of a neighborhood that's got nothing but scraps to kick around. Killer of Sheep is a masterpiece of American black poverty, accompanied by a rich and mournful soundtrack, from the bent-but-not broken dignity of Paul Robeson, to the deep blue sensuality of dinah washington, to the sweet voices of 70s soul, to 1950's roadhouse blues. Here, in stark black and white, are a people that barely dare to speak of the middle class, whose motion takes them sideways, sometimes downward, but forward in only the smallest of increments. And even those steps are dashed by what at first glance would be the fates, but, in reality, is the state of the conditions -- the car ride without a spare tire, the unsecured engine falling out of the bed of a pickup. The juxtaposition of the poor blacks and the sheep going to slaughter should be heavy-handed, but miraculously is, instead, a sad poetry. And even more miraculous are the myriad tiny beauties, the smallest touches the director Burnett illuminates again and again: the warm coffee mug rubbed against a man's cheek and compared to the body of a woman, the little girl in a rubber mask, another young girl singing along with the radio to a doll, a son hiding from his mother on the roof of the house . . . The sheep at the slaughterhouse where the father works are herded and their fear is palpable. They intuit their fate, yet where can they run when boxed in a pen? The adults are of two kinds in the film: those seeking small pleasures, and those too tired or beat up to do anything but sit. It's not a slaughterhouse, but there is no escape. Still, in the end, there are those children, and they flow like fresh water in a fetid pond. Their exuberence is nearly chaos in a void of structure and purpose. Yet when three women gather in the final images of the film to share the joy of one's new pregnancy, you can't help but feel lifted by the promise of hope children somehow always bring into the well of human despair.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Killer of Sheep is Profound -- Seemingly Unintentionally 29 Dec. 2007
By Olon D. - Published on
Verified Purchase
I am so pleased that Charles Burnett's "Killer of Sheep" has been finally released after years of challenges. I was fortunate to see the film many years ago as part of an underground circuit at Tuskegee Institute. I found the style and material contained in the film to be compelling and my first experience with a media which accurately portrays a particular aspect of African American culture. When Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Gave It" was released years later, it was regarded as the first of its kind and revolutionary with respect to African American film making; however, "Killer of Sheep" was not only a predecessor, I am confident that Spike Lee was heavily influenced and inspired by the work of Charles Burnett. "Killer of Sheep" is a MUST SEE!!!
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