Bless Their Little Hearts

USA 1984. Dir: Billy Woodberry. 84 min. DCP

Billy Woodberry’s neorealist drama, a seminal work of the African-American New Wave movement known as the L.A. Rebellion, was added to the U.S. Library of Congress’s registry of culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films in 2013. Written and photographed by noted L.A. filmmaker Charles Burnett, and set in the same neighbourhood as Burnett’s masterpiece Killer of Sheep (also screening at The Cinematheque), Woodberry’s rich, resonant film stars Nate Hardman and Kaycee Moore as a working-class couple contending with the devastating effects of unemployment. “The movie’s comedy is the humour of precise we’ve-all-been-there observation ... Its poetry lies in the exaltation of ordinary detail... Given a spine of steel by Kaycee Moore’s blazing performance, Bless Their Little Hearts forms, with Killer of Sheep, a landmark diptych about work as the crucible of the American character — either in its abundance or its absence” (Jim Ridley, Village Voice).


— preceded by —

 

 

 

 

The Pocketbook
USA 1980. Dir: Billy Woodberry. 13 min. DCP

Billy Woodberry’s tale of a young would-be purse-snatcher reassessing his life was adapted from a short story by Langston Hughes and is luminously shot by Charles (Killer of Sheep) Burnett.