UNDERGROUND USA: INDIE CINEMA OF THE 80s: L.A. Rebellion - My Brother's Wedding

A follow up to the celebrated Killer of Sheep, Charles Burnett’s second feature film is once again a South Central Los Angeles-set narrative, this time an impressionistic tragicomedy centered on the downtrodden Pierce, an aimless young man perpetually exasperated —by his obligations, the satirized upwardly mobile middle class, and it seems, life itself. Burnett—oft-compared to the great neorealists—expertly uses Pierce’s unhappiness and resistance to delicately draw out the intricacies of daily life, in a chronicle of poverty that’s beautiful without romanticizing, and political, but not overtly so. Amateur actors deliver their lines theatrically—like memorized recitations—reminding us of both the limitations that governed such low budget filmmaking, and of the added layer of meaning generated by committing an underrepresented community to celluloid. Sensitive and anthropological, My Brother’s Wedding plays like music, building to a culmination simultaneously explosive and quiet, expertly contemplative, and never reductive.

Dir. Charles Burnett, 1983, Digital Presentation, 115 min.

L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema is a project by UCLA Film & Television Archive developed as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980. The original series took place at UCLA Film & Television Archive in October – December 2011, curated by Allyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Horak, Shannon Kelley and Jacqueline Stewart.

The Cinefamily will present a modest selection of L.A. Rebellion titles as part of its Underground USA Series. A complete overview of the original program can be found on www.cinema.ucla.edu/la-rebellion.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!