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A Poem is a Naked Person

Les Blank’s portrait of Leon Russell went unreleased for 40 years before hitting the screen. Russell, who also coproduced the project, wasn’t happy with the result, so questions of rights and differences of opinion meant that only a handful of people ever saw the film. Blank shot the footage between 1972 and 1974 while living on the property of Russell’s Shelter Records recording studio in northeast Oklahoma. Four decades later, the footage functions as a time machine to a lost place and time. In addition to concert and studio recordings of Russell and fellow artists Willie Nelson and George Jones, Blank observes the scene with the intimate vérité that is the hallmark of all his films, capturing the spirit and feeling as much as the fabulous music.

Genres: Documentary

Other Films by Les Blank

Burden of Dreams

Werner Herzog spent four years in the jungles of Peru making FITZCARRALDO, the chronicle of a mad Irish dreamer who wants to bring opera to the Amazon. Like the film’s hero, Herzog himself became a man of total obsession. Overcoming the seemingly impossible challenges of finances, location, weather, cast turnover, and wars with both native

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Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

Herzog fulfills a promise to filmmaker Errol Morris upon the completion of Morris’s first film, GATES OF HEAVEN (screening August 9).

Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers

t is hard to think of anyone who did more than the recently deceased Les Blank (1935-2013) to document American folk, food, and music cultures. Roaming regional backroads, his laid-back camera captured people with a deep appreciation of life and the commitment to celebrate it seriously. Blank’s loving garlic film is a lively salute to

Always for Pleasure

The vibrancy of New Orleans’ cultural life in the late 1970s shines through in Blank’s characteristically freewheeling, fun, yet incisive documentary portrait of the city. Featuring interviews and performance footage with prominent New Orleanian musicians including Professor Longhair, Irma Thomas, the Neville Brothers, Kid Thomas Valentine, and Allen Toussaint among others, Blank weaves a tapestry

Other Films by Maureen Gosling

Burden of Dreams

Werner Herzog spent four years in the jungles of Peru making FITZCARRALDO, the chronicle of a mad Irish dreamer who wants to bring opera to the Amazon. Like the film’s hero, Herzog himself became a man of total obsession. Overcoming the seemingly impossible challenges of finances, location, weather, cast turnover, and wars with both native

This Ain’t No Mouse Music!

VISITING ARTISTS—As a teenager in 1947, Chris Strachwitz migrated from Germany to the United States, where he saw a film that would change his life forever: NEW ORLEANS, starring Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. Since then, his life has been a relentless quest to track down and record the best of American folk music roots—New