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Killer of Sheep’s backstory is almost as intriguing as the movie itself. Shot in the mid-’70s by Charles Burnett as part of a film-school project, the work – about a ghetto-dwelling slaughterhouse worker, his family, and his friends – has rarely screened since it was completed in 1977. As such, it’s become a lost classic. When the Library of Congress formed the National Film Registry in the late ’80s, Killer of Sheep was one of the first movies inducted. The National Society of Film Critics also named it one of its 100 Essential Films. But sound track-clearance issues precluded the movie from receiving a theatrical release. Instead, it has occasionally played at festivals over the years. The black-and-white flick recently secured music rights and is now making the art-house rounds across the country. And it’s worthy of all the hype – a stunning documentary-like reflection of Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood as seen through the eyes of a man struggling to make ends meet. It’s a fascinating piece of cinema, no matter how you approach it.
Fri., July 13, 8:50 p.m.; Sat., July 14, 7:15 p.m.; Sun., July 15, 4 p.m.

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