Charles Burnett made this drama about a Watts slaughterhouse worker and his family when he was a student at the American Film Institute. He completed the picture in 1977. Almost no one saw it then, but through showings in museums and churches, Killer of Sheep achieved an underground reputation. In the 90s it was listed on the Library of Congress’s registry of distinguished American films, and last year it finally achieved a decent theatrical release. All Burnett had to do was wait 30 years. In between he made the excellent To Sleep With Anger (1990), starring Danny Glover as a charismatic conniver, and the cop drama The Glass Shield (1995). His first film remains his masterpiece, and one of the great movie mood pieces: a study of a man’s emotional exhaustion, played out in vignettes that are beautifully observed and achingly sad.