How do you prepare a child for a vulnerable existence? A man punishes his son because he didn’t fight to defend his little brother. Even though he is still a child, he must already be a man. This opening scene painfully summarises the drama. The daily battle for existence and the lack of a future serve to numb Stan and alienate him from his feelings and his family. The children playing in the rubble are the innocent, unsuspecting heirs to this painful reality. Yet hope gleams in the small moments of tenderness experienced by Stan.
This iconic film in American cinema, written, directed, filmed, edited and produced in 1977 by L.A. Rebellion filmmaker Charles Burnett, was deemed in 2002 by the Library of Congress to be a 'national treasure'. Killer of Sheep was not seen for decades because of a question involving music rights, but is still universally praised as a visionary masterpiece.