Synopsis of Killer of Sheep
Stan, the family man as the protagonist of the story/film, is decent, hardworking, and enslaved by poverty. He works in a sheep slaughterhouse. His is a story of the 70’s that encapsulates what African-American life is all about in the Los Angeles ghetto of Watts.
The whole tapestry of the lives of Stan’s family; his neighbors; his friends; his community was so vividly depicted in the film. Various episodes transpired in his life in the story. Some of Stan’s friends tempted him to participate in a murder; a white woman flirts with him; Stan and his friend buying a car engine, the consoling moments Stan spend with his wife and child. The entire story is about perseverance, patience, desperation, abuse, hope, despair, pride in work, joy in austerity, and integrity even in poverty.
Synopsis of Days of Glory
Four men of Algerian nationality were the focus of the story about recruitment of North Africans to serve in the French Army to wage its campaign against the Nazi across Europe during World War II. Each of the four recruited soldiers has different reasons for joining the army.
Amidst the war, their experiences became varied as they witnessed the atrocities of war; the discrimination; the savagery; the despair and the intolerances; the indignities. The war made them confused and seeking justice for their rightful place for the courage, dedication and commitment they gave in service of France.
The Comparative Analysis
Killer of Sheep is an American drama film of human element that was shot in black and white in 1977. It runs for 81 minutes. It was first presented as a feature film thesis by its Writer Director, Charles Burnett, for his Masters Degree in Fine Arts. Inspite of the excellent reviews, the film originally shot in 16 mm was not able to be commercially released due to some music infringements that Burnett could not afford to cover.
The film was finally restored and re-issued for full 35 mm screen in 2007, with the appropriate compensations for copyrights of the music used. The film has got a very poetic treatment of the scenes; the drabness was intended to give realism to the feelings evoked by the story.
Burnett was masterful with his shots and camera work, “He operated the 16-millimeter camera himself, edited the black-and-white images into a visual poem and added the ballads, the jazz and the moody blues that seep into your head like smoke. The result is an American masterpiece, independent to the bone.” (Dargis, 2007)
Days of Glory is a French drama film, also of human element, shot in color in 2007. The film runs for 120 minutes. “With strong visuals and even stronger emotions, Rachid Bouchareb’s “Days of Glory” makes a powerful war film about a particularly unique subject scenes of combat are well staged and shot”. (Honeycutt, 2006). The film was created as straightforwrd as it should be about the tales of the characters. It exuded honest emotions and vivid narration of what the environment of war was.
The portrayals adopted in the filmmaking is classical wherein there was no overplaying of the issues of the story. Insuch manner, the message of the story stay as relevant in times that will come and go. The camera work on comat sequences are precise. The scenes truly expressed the dramatic impact that the moral lesson of the film intended to portray. The film was nominated to the Oscar’s Foreign Language Film Category in 2007.
Dargis, M. “Whereabouts in Watts? Where Poetry Meets Chaos”.
20 Mar 2007. The New York Times.
Schwarzbaum, L. “Movie Review: Killer of Sheep”. Entertainment Weekly. 28 Mar 2007
Honeycutt, K. “BottomLine: A Strong Film for SpecialtyVenues”.
The Hollywood Reporter. 26 May 2006
Turan, K. “Movie Review: Days of Glory”. Los Angeles Times. 6 Dec 2006
Scott, A.O. “Yes, Soldiers of France, In All But Name”.
New York Times Review, 6 Dec 2006