A key masterpiece of the L.A Rebellion, Bless Their Little Hearts distills the social concerns and aesthetics of that trailblazing movement in African American cinema. Billy Woodberry’s film showcases his attentive eye, sensitivity to the nuances of community and family, and the power of the blues.
Searching for steady work, Charlie Banks (Nate Hardman) views his chronic unemployment as a kind of spiritual trial. But day work and selling a few catfish can’t sustain a family of five. While his wife, Andais (Kaycee Moore), works to support them with dignity, Charlie finds comfort for his wounded sense of manhood in an affair that threatens his marriage and family.
At the heart of this devastatingly beautiful film is the couple’s agonizing confrontation – shot in one continuous ten-minute take – that ranks as “one of the great domestic cataclysms of modern movies.” (Richard Brody, The New Yorker)
Named to the National Film Registry, Bless Their Little Hearts features contributions by two iconic American artists: Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep, To Sleep With Anger), who wrote and shot the film, and Kaycee Moore (Daughters of the Dust), whose powerful performance as Andais Banks remains a revelation.
Film restoration by Ross Lipman with Billy Woodberry at UCLA Film & Television Archive. 2K Digital restoration by Re-Kino, Warsaw. English captions and Spanish subtitles.
Audio commentary by New York University professor Ed Guererro
New 2K restoration of The Pocketbook (1980): Billy Woodberry’s first film
Workshop with Billy Woodberry: video courtesy of Indiana University Black Film Center/Archive
Billy and Charles: Ross Lipman’s interview
Interview with Ed Guererro
Bless Their Little Hearts behind-the-scenes photos courtesy of Billy Woodberry
Booklet with essays by filmmaker Allison Anders and Cornell University professor Samantha N. Sheppard
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