Set in the Watts area of Los Angeles, a slaughterhouse worker must suspend his emotions to continue working at a job he finds repugnant, and then he finds he has little sensitivity for the family he works so hard to support.
Henry G. Sanders,
An improvised late '60's short-subject student film, and debut movie of Director, Charles Burnett; done in the neo-realist, documentary film style. A day-in-the-life South Central L.A. tale... See full summary »
The story and legacy of the enigmatic leader of the notorious 1831 homicidal slave revolt in Virginia, along with reviews of works about him, are explored; twentieth century civil rights discussed and cultural relativism mentioned.
A photographer and her girlfriend are roommates. She is stuck with small-change shooting jobs and dreams of success. When her roommate decides to get married and leave, she feels hurt and has to learn how to deal with living alone.
My Brother's Wedding (1983) was written and directed by Charles Burnett. I wanted and expected to enjoy this film, but I didn't.
There's an interesting backstory to the production. The movie was financed by a German TV corporation, which demanded a product by the agreed-upon deadline. Director Burnett gave them a long, rough cut version, that was widely praised in Germany. What we are seeing now is billed as a 78-minute director's cut, released by Milestone. Sounds interesting. Unfortunately, the resulting movie didn't work for me.
The talented Everett Silas plays Pierce Mundy, a young man who lives and works in South Central Los Angeles. Pierce is a good guy--well liked in the neighborhood, not involved in crime or drugs, and willing to care for his elderly relatives. If anything, he's too nice a guy, because he's loyal to his friend Soldier. Soldier has just been released from prison, and he's looking for trouble. (Or, at least, trouble finds him. Some of the plot involving Soldier appears to have been lost in the editing process.)
Probably for economic reasons, Director Burnett cast non-actors in all the other roles. That's a risky gamble. Some directors can pull amazing performances from amateurs, but Burnett could not. Most of the acting is at the level of a high school's senior class play. The people look right, but when they speak it doesn't sound at all natural. (Yes--that's a paradox. You have to be a trained actor to sound like someone who isn't a trained actor. Paradox or not, there it is.)
I respect the fact that other reviewers enjoyed this film. I was prepared to enjoy it too, but, even at 78 minutes, it dragged on and on for me. There weren't that many African-American directors working on serious films in the 1980's. So, for historical reasons, you may consider this film worth seeking out. However, I didn't enjoy it, and, as much as I would like to, I can't recommend it.
Incidentally, we saw this movie at the excellent Dryden Theatre of Eastman House in Rochester, NY. One of the other reviewers said it's available on DVD, but Dryden showed a Blu-Ray version. In any case, the film will work well on the small screen.
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