My Brother's Wedding

dir. Charles Burnett

TIFF Cinematheque - Black History Month

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Charles Burnett's long-delayed follow-up to Killer of Sheep follows an aimless young man who seeks solace in a nostalgic childhood friendship in the face of a diminished future.
Following a troubled production, Charles Burnett's follow-up to Killer of Sheep premiered in 1984 in a 115-minute rough-cut version that was not released theatrically until 1991; more than a decade later, Burnett cut thirty minutes from the film for its 2007 re-release to create this director's cut version that more accurately reflects his original intentions. Recently laid off from his factory job, Pierce Mundy (Everette Silas) marks time working at his family's dry-cleaning business under the watchful eye of his mother (Jessie Holmes) while swapping loaded jabs with his brother's upper-middle-class fiancée (Gaye Shannon-Burnett). In the face of a diminished future, the return of Pierce's best friend, Soldier (Ronald E. Bell), offers a nostalgic escape to childhood, albeit one burdened by the decimation of the friends' generation through violence and incarceration. "Burnett's acute handling of actors (most of whom are nonprofessionals) never falters, and his gifts as a storyteller make this a movie that steadily grows in impact and resonance as one watches. If a better film has been made about black ghetto life, I haven't seen it" (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader).