UK Premiere: The Annihilation of Fish
The Annihilation of Fish c/o Kino Lorber.

UK Premiere: The Annihilation of Fish

classified 12A

Restored & Rediscovered


Sat 27 July 18:15

Cinema 1, Watershed

Charles Burnett
James Earl Jones, Lynn Redgrave, and Margot Kidder
108 mins, 1999, USA
Primary language
“Charles Burnett is one of the finest filmmakers in this country. His pictures speak in a cinematic voice that is uniquely and completely his own.” - Martin Scorsese, Founder and Chair of The Film Foundation.

Charles Burnett may be one of the great American directors of the past half-century, who played a part in formulating the famed LA Rebellion school and bringing a hard-nosed reality to tales of Black American life. And yet, The Annihilation of Fish, starring James Earl Jones, Lynn Redgrave and Margot Kidder, is a rare light-hearted work from him. That it has gone without distribution since release is an absurd indictment of the vagaries of film industry politics as you could possibly find. Only now is this being rectified.

The Annihilation of Fish finds Burnett playfully ruminating on ageing and romance, via the guise of a sweet and sincere comedy, as we follow two new tenants (Earl Jones and Redgrave) in an apartment building, both with their own peculiar eccentricities. Earl Jones's character has been recently released from a mental institution for fighting with a figment of his imagination; Redgrave's has recently broken up with her ‘lover’ the long-dead 19th-century composer Puccini.

As the two grow closer together, Burnett uncovers their unique humanity amidst the hijinks and whimsical humour - yet without sensationalising or poking fun at their life experiences.

A 4K restoration by UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

With a remote introduction by director Charles Burnett, hosted by writer/curator Karen Alexander.

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