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October 12, 2013

Bless Their Little Hearts by Billy Woodberry

Billy Woodberry's powerful Bless Their Little Hearts is recognized not only as a landmark in African American cinema but as one of the great US independent films of the 1980s. Originally scheduled for the opening night of this spring’s program L.A. Rebellion: Creating a Black Cinema, organized by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, the theater had to close that day due to the search for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. We are pleased to welcome Billy Woodberry back to Harvard to present his work.

Special thanks: Todd Wiener, Steven Hill – UCLA Film and Television Archive.

$12 Special Event Tickets
Billy Woodberry in Person

Saturday October 12 at 7pm

Bless Their Little Hearts

Directed by Billy Woodberry. With Nate Hardman, Kaycee Moore, Angela Burnett
US 1984, 35mm, b/w, 84 min

The neo-realist strain of L.A. Rebellion filmmaking began with Charles Burnett’s first films in the late 1960s and reached its culmination with Bless Their Little Hearts fifteen years later. Working from a screenplay by Burnett, Billy Woodberry brings to anguished life this portrait of a married couple striving to make ends meet and still have the time and energy to maintain their relationship to each other and to their three young children. The result is an emotional and strikingly realistic look at the daily grind of working poverty, full of humor and devoid of the least pity for its characters – or of a simple solution to their difficulties.

Preservation funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation and the Packard Humanities Institute

Preceded by

The Pocketbook

Directed by Billy Woodberry. With Ella “Simi” Nelson, Ray Cherry, David Jenkins
US 1980, 35mm, b/w, 13 min

In the course of a botched purse snatching, a boy questions the course of his life in this adaptation of Langston Hughes’ short story, "Thank You, Ma'am." 

Preservation funded in part by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700