Les Blank

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Burden of Dreams
Part of the Series: Janus World Documentaries Collection
For nearly five years, acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog desperately tried to complete one of the most ambitious and difficult films of his career, Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man's attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon…
A Poem is a Naked Person
Les Blank considered this free-form feature documentary about beloved singer-songwriter Leon Russell, filmed between 1972 and 1974, to be one of his greatest accomplishments. Yet it has not been released until now. Hired by Russell to film him at his…
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe
Yes, German film director Werner Herzog really does eat his shoe to fulfill a vow to fellow filmmaker Errol Morris -- boldly exemplifying his belief that people must have the guts to attempt what they dream of.
Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins
Part of the Series: Janus American Documentaries Collection
The great Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins is captured brilliantly in this deeply moving film. Blank reveals Lightnin's inspiration, and features a generous helping of classic blues, including the songs, Mr. Charlie and Your Rollin' Mill is Burnin' Down. Includes performances…
Always for Pleasure
Part of the Series: Janus American Documentaries Collection
Les Blank's celebration of the spirit and social traditions of New Orleans, featuring Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day celebrations. It is an intense insider's portrait of New Orleans' street celebrations and the unique cultural gumbo of Second-line parades, Mardi…
J'ai ete au bal [I Went to the Dance]
The definitive film, by Les Blank and Chris Strachwitz, on the history of the toe-tapping, foot-stomping music of French Southwest Louisiana. The film includes many Cajun and Zydeco greats, featuring Michael Doucet and BeauSoleil, Clifton Chenier, Marc and Ann Savoy,…
Chulas Fronteras
A complex, insightful look at the Chicano experience as mirrored in the lives and music of the most acclaimed Norteno musicians of the Texas-Mexican border, including Flaco Jimenez and Lydia Mendoza. Selected for The Library Of Congress, National Film Registry…
Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers
Part of the Series: Janus American Documentaries Collection
In this love letter to "the stinking rose," documentarian Les Blank interviews garlic fanatics of all stripes, from cooks to members of garlic appreciation societies. The film, (a lip-smacking foray into the history, consumption, cultivation and culinary/curative powers of the…
Gap-Toothed Women
Blank breezily questions our commonly accepted standards of beauty with this paean to women with extra-wide dental spaces.
In Heaven There is No Beer?
A cinematic jamboree, this film finds Blank in a characteristically jubilant mode as he explores "polka happiness" and the Polish American polka subculture.
Spend It All
Part of the Series: Janus American Documentaries Collection
Blank journeys down the bayous and byways of Southwest Louisiana in this riveting portrait of the region's Cajun community.
A Well Spent Life
Musician Mance Lipscomb commands the screen in Blank's vivid sketch of a man some consider the greatest blues guitarist who ever lived.
All in This Tea
This film follows world-renowned tea expert David Lee Hoffman to remote regions of China in search of the best handmade teas in existence. As a tea importer, Hoffman's obsession with this ancient beverage led him from "insipid tea bags in…
Innocents Abroad
A warmly amusing look at a bus-full of American tourists on a whirlwind tour of Europe. The eclectic soundtrack includes Mozart, Bob Dylan, Sandy Denny, Jonathan Richman, others. Innocents Abroad takes an amusing look at how Europeans and Americans stereotype…
Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking
Accordionist Marc Savoy and his family and friends show us how to make goo courtbouillon, gumbo, etouffee, boudin, and other Cajun and Creole delights.
God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance
Blank took his camera to the historic 1967 Easter Sunday love-in in Los Angeles for this immersive, even spiritual collage of a film.
Ziveli! Medicine for the Heart
This little known Les Blank gem is a portrait of the Serbian-American communities of California and Chicago. At the time of the California Gold Rush, the first Serbian immigrants arrived from the rugged Balkan Peninsula to settle in the New…
Dry Wood
Blank ventured back to Southwest Louisiana for this work of ramshackle beauty, an immersion in the region's black Creole community that teems with delightful detail.
How to Smell a Rose - A Visit with Ricky Leacock at His Farm in Normandy
HOW TO SMELL A ROSE documents Les Blank's visit with the legendary co-founder of Direct Cinema, Richard Leacock (1921-2011), in 2000. At his farm in Normandy, France, Blank, and co-director Gina Leibrecht, recorded conversations with Leacock about his life, his…
Huey Lewis and the News: Before
This film follows one of the world's top rock-and-roll bands of the 80's and a crew of fifty technicians to the Bahamas for the making of a music video for their number one hit single, "Stuck With You" for their…