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Charles BurnettA Cinema of Symbolic Knowledge$
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James Naremore

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285521

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285521.001.0001

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Two Screenplays

Two Screenplays

Bless Their Little Hearts (1984) and Man in a Basket (2003)

(p.199) Thirteen Two Screenplays
Charles Burnett

James Naremore

University of California Press

Burnett is a complete filmmaker who has not only directed but also photographed, edited, and written many films. This chapter puts emphasis on his talent as a screenwriter, using two very different projects as examples. Bless Their Little Hearts was written for director Billy Woodbury and is similar in many ways to Burnett’s Killer of Sheep. It tells the story of an unemployed black man in Watts who suffers a crisis of masculinity while he tries to find a job and keep his family together. Man in a Basket is an adaptation of Crazy Kill by noir novelist Chester Himes. Set in 1950s Harlem, Burnett describes it as Himes’s only love story. Burnett has long wanted to direct this film and is still trying to find backers.

Keywords:   black neorealism, black masculinity, family, screenwriting, adaptation, film noir, police violence, murder mystery, Billy Woodbury, Chester Himes

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