Les Blank

Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins, The (1967) 16mm, color, 31.15 min

Genre: Documentary

Keywords: Music

In his own words and his "own own" music, Lightnin' Hopkins reveals the inspiration for his blues. He sings, jives, ponders. He boogies at an outdoor barbecue and a black rodeo, and takes you with him on a homecoming visit to his boyhood home of Centerville, Texas. The film reaches past the impish bluesman himself into the Blues itself, into the red-clay Texas, into hard times, into blackness, into the senses.

Rental: $50.00
16mm Rental: $50.00

Les Blank

God Respects Us When We Work But He Loves Us When We Dance (1968) 16mm, color, 20.00 min

Genre: Documentary

Keywords: History, Political / Social Activism

An original rock music score accentuates this film panorama of the action and more meditative moments occurring at Los Angeles' memorable 1967 Easter Sunday Love-in. Earmarks of the alternative culture, like open use of drugs, meditation, free expression of love and affection are revealed in this colorful and candid record of a social phenomenon.

Rental: $30.00
16mm Rental: $30.00

Les Blank

Spend It All (1971) 16mm, color, 43.45 min

Genre: Documentary

Keywords: Environment & Nature, Ethnic / Multicultural, Music

This is a perceptive, lusty lyrical documentary of some true American originals-- the bayou people in Cajun Country. --Times Picayune, New Orleans. The Cajuns of Southwest Louisiana still retain the language, camaraderie and old world spirit of their French-speaking Acadian ancestors. The film captures the intense bravado and vitality of their lives, in scenes such as quarter horse racing, coffee roasting, accordion building, cooking and having suppers along with the intoxicating music of the Balfa Brothers, Marc Savoy, Nathan Abshire and others.

Rental: $50.00
16mm Rental: $50.00

Les Blank

Always For Pleasure (1978) 16mm, color, 57.00 min

Genre: Documentary

Keywords: Ethnic / Multicultural, Music, Spiritual / Mystical

"Always for Pleasure" is an intensive insider's look at Mardi Gras and the briad of musical traditions the annual celebration supports in New Orleans. It's a fairly shabby Southern city, with a touristy, almost tacky overlay. But beneath the overlay is something vital, something intimately acquainted with living and dying, that marketing cannot long disguise or distort. New Orleans has a gut-level mythic quality, a resonance unique among American cities. ALWAYS FOR PLEASURE amplifies that resonance. The film takes you to a jazz funeral where a brass band blows dirges on the way to the graveyard, then cuts loose on the way back. It takes you to pre-Mardi Gras practice parades, Mardi Gras celebrations and a St. Patrick's Day parade in the white working class neighborhoods. The second part of the film focuses on Mardi Gras celebrations in the black community, particularly on the annual revival of the black Indian tradition, in which working class blacks try to outdo each other in dancing, talking, and especially in the parading of hand-sewn Indian costumes of their own design. Most of all, there is an underlying sense of community, of an organic link with the past, that is both sobering and exhilarating, providing pleasure and responsibility. This is how I want to go out, says a young man at a funeral parade, with a little band behind me and my friends having a nice time. But I'm living now and I'm not going to wait, 'til I'm in the ground, laid out, to have fun in the streets. .

Rental: $90.00
16mm Rental: $90.00

Les Blank

Chicken Real (1980) 16mm, color, 22.45 min

Genre: Documentary

An industrial short made for the world's second largest poultry producer, CHICKEN REAL incorporates subversive bits of satire in its promotion of the assembly-line approach to mass-manufacturing food. Music recorded in North Carolina, of a group playing all the chicken songs they knew. Blank shot this documentary for an automated chicken growing operation that produces 156 million chicken a year! He brought all his skill to bear on the project, and added a narration that's only barely tongue-in cheek. It's his funniest film, one that works on its own terms as a fascinating documentary on the chicken biz and also a humorous comment on itself. Surreal images abound -- hundreds of chickens clicking toward a feeding belt, thousands of chicks huddling together is a giant breeding room, dead chickens flying across a table, passing through hellish flames on a conveyer, receiving giblet transplants. But the most interesting thing is that Blank evades the issue of chicken death completely -- skipping in an instant from live chickens to dead ones with absolutely no mention that birds are dying. It's the only Blank film in which death is never acknowledged -- and as a result death pervades the picture as it does no other. Chickens of incomparable succulence. -- Micheal Goodwin, Pacific Film Archive

Rental: $50.00
16mm Rental: $50.00

Les Blank

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980) 16mm, color, 23.00 min

Genre: Documentary

Keywords: Art & Artists, Films about Film, Media

In 1979, Les Blank took a brief detour from his filmic path through traditional American music to film German filmmaker Werner Herzog honoring a vow he claims he made to Errol Morris, A Berkeley student, that he (Herzog) would eat his shoe if Morris ever got off his butt and actually made one of his films he was forever talking about. Stung into action, Morris directed GATES OF HEAVEN, a highly acclaimed film about a pet cemetery -- and Herzog, true to his word, returned to Berkeley to consume one of his desert boots in front of a large audience at the UC Theater. The film reveals an obsessive, self destructive almost superhuman dimension to Herzog that people must have the guts to attempt what they dream of. Herzog adds comment on the value of cinema and the need for a new grammar of images. Definitely the strangest of Blank's love letters to food, and a major addition to the small shelf of films in filmmaking. The strength of this definitely unusual little film is Herzog eccentric brilliance which Blank captures as well as he did the singers in DEL MERO CORAZON. -- Rick Chatenever, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Rental: $45.00
16mm Rental: $45.00

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