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

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