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The Reeler Blog

Tonight: Burnett Sends Off Killer of Sheep

Henry Gayle Sanders in Killer of Sheep, winding up its IFC Center run this week (Photo: Milestone Films)

Back in March, I made no secret of my deep respect for Killer of Sheep upon its first theatrical release; at that time it was the best thing I'd seen this year, and it remains so this day. Still, I was surprised to receive word from Milestone Films late last week that writer/director Charles Burnett would finally be appearing tonight at IFC Center to thank New York for its embrace of his 1977 masterpiece -- not because it took him so long, but because I had no idea the film's been running for three months:

On Monday, June 18th, to celebrate Killer of Sheep's 12th and final week in New York as the city's highest grossing -- and best reviewed, thanks to many of you -- indie film this year, Milestone and IFC Center will feature Charles Burnett in person to present the evening screenings and answer questions afterwards. In addition, a rare restored short by the legendary African-American director will be screened, posters given away to the first 100 attendees of each show, and other surprises will be in store!

Indeed, IFC Center admin notes that the engagement must end Thursday, leaving The Reeler to wonder who will pick up its second run; Milestone Films president Dennis Doros told me this afternoon that while nothing is set at the moment, a revival could pop up later this year when Milestone releases Burnett's final cut of his 1983 film My Brother's Wedding. Then there's the question of whether or not, at year's end, critics will be as generous to the 30-year-old classic as they were to Jean-Pierre Melville and Army of Shadows, which finally reached New York in 2006 -- 37 years after its original release in Europe. In any event, what we do know is that Burnett will be around tonight for shows at 7 and 9:10, with other, as-yet-unnamed guests rumored to be joining him.

Posted at June 18, 2007 11:57 AM

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