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When It Rains1995

  • 3.5
After his famed original trilogy of indie features (KILLER OF SHEEP, MY BROTHER’S WEDDING and TO SLEEP WITH ANGER) and before commencing a long run of acclaimed television projects, Charles Burnett made this flavorful short. A dreadlocked, dashiki-clad man (Ayuko Babu) roams his community on New Year's Day trying to drum up help for a female friend whose overdue rent could land her daughter and herself on the street. The protagonist's voiceover narration free-ranges from personal backstories to musing on the relationship between blues and jazz. Mixing narrative and documentary elements, ending with a street-corner trumpet solo, WHEN IT RAINS is itself a loose, ingratiating, tuneful riff on issues of African-American identity and everyday reality. - Dennis Harvey

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