Armond White Movie Review of Billy Woodberry’s film “Bless Their Little Hearts” (QUOTE from the book “The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook The World”)


3) Armond White Movie Review of director Billy Woodberry film BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS           -1984-



Billy Woodberry — Director of film “Bless Their Little Hearts”


“Most filmmakers have to contrive an adventure: Billy Woodberry


 is automatically at the center of one.  As a Black independent producer, director and editor, the thirty-six-year-old Billy Woodberry–whose film Bless Their Little Hearts, begins a two-week run December 12 1984 at the Film Forum–had to secure funds, make creative decisions, and still break new ground.” 

“Like it or not, the latter is a contemporary Black filmmaker’s natural burden.   The task of creating a new world on screen becomes an inherent obligation when depicting the experience of working-class Black Americans.  What this lifestyle–usually overlooked by movies – – requires is at least equal to the demands of creative fantasy that, for instance, the ballyhoo for Dune describes for director David Lynch.”

“Yet, a serious-minded Black filmmaker must also convey his/her subject with force, credibility, and above all, interest.”

“From its very first frames, Bless Their Little Hearts is dominated by this imperative, It’s as if an onscreen voice were whispering entreaties into the ears of Billy Woodberry and his screenwriter, Charles Burnett.”

“Set in Watts, the film shows how Charlie Banks (Nate Hardman), a young father and husband, becomes disoriented from his life and family when a stretch of unemployment goes long-term.  This primal working-class dilemma has an unexpected, almost…”

“While watching this film, one realizes that a good part of Billy Woodberry’s endeavor involved starting from scratch and finding a tone and a look to effectively convey his characters’ lifestyles.  In choosing a method between documentary and the stylization of theater, a filmmaker is always forced with the possibility of everything going wrong and the hope that some of his decisions will be right.   That’s truly adventurous, truly scary…”


To read more of Armond White’s take on Billy Woodberry’s film Bless Their Little Hearts, purchase a new or used copy of The Resistance: Ten Years Of Pop Culture That Shook The World.


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