Charles Burnett’s lovely, poetic masterpiece is novelistic in its narrative density and richness of characterization. Harry Point out, an enigmatic drifter from the South, comes to go to an outdated acquaintance named Gideon, who now lives in South-Central Los Angeles. Harry’s charming, down-home method hides a malicious penchant for stirring up bother, and he exerts a wierd and highly effective impact on Gideon and his totally assimilated black, middle-class household. The family was already rife with battle when the devilish visitor arrived, and Harry’s grab-bag of folktales, fortunate charms and foul magic solely deepens the household rift. Illness and madness regularly descend upon Gideon’s residence, and it quickly turns into evident that one thing should give.

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