Bless Their Little Hearts

LA Rebellion filmmaker Billy Woodberry's sole dramatic feature defies its origins in the 1980s. Painted in shades of black and white and dabbed with spare jazz and itchy R&B, it plays more like a Roberto Rossellini film from the 1940s. Charlie Banks (Nate Hardman), chain-smoking center of the story, shuffles when he walks and peers at Watts through wary eyes. He's looking for a job, but all he can find is piece work. When he gazes at his kids in silence after a fruitless day on the hunt, his frustration is palpable. "I don't feel Iā€™m no loser," he tells his poker buddies when they encourage him to engage in a little larceny, but he lies and he cheats, and his wife, Andais (Kaycee Moore, even more heartbreaking here than in Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep) is no fool. The acting is unpolished, but Woodberry's empathy elevates the scenario. When Andais cries, "I'm tired!," her pain is palpable. Written and shot by Burnett, Bless Their Little Hearts helped to shift independent African American cinema away from the blaxploitation and morality-play models into something more timeless and true. In 2013, the National Film Registry added it to their collection. Woodberry's alma mater, UCLA, by way of the Film and Television Archive, is responsible for the lovingly restored print now gracing our city. by Kathy Fennessy
Showtimes & Tickets


Billy Woodberry
Nate Hardman, Kaycee Moore, Angela Burnett

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