Living hand to mouth in the Watts section of Los Angeles, Stan (Sanders) toils at a slaughterhouse, where the dispiriting and mind-numbing routine of dispatching livestock leaves him emotionally remote from his wife (Moore) and young son. Under these circumstances, life's pleasures come in small and unexpected ways.
Burnett's tender, affecting film, a landmark in American independent cinema, hasn't much of a plot, content instead to observe the melancholic daily existence of an impoverished African-American neighborhood. But its neorealist aesthetic, lugubrious pace, and minimal storyline are the ingredients for a surprisingly moving film that depicts ghetto life with lasting beauty and an authentic sense of humanity. Both touching and heartbreaking, with a sweet jazz score setting a mood of inner yearning, "Killer of Sheep," hidden away too long, should be at the top of your must-see list.