21 Collections

  • Documentaries by Les Blank

    1 season

    From garlic to gap-toothed women, no subject was too esoteric to capture the imagination of Les Blank, an uncompromisingly independent spirit who, for nearly fifty years, disappeared with his camera into subcultures rarely seen on-screen. Seemingly off-the-cuff yet poetically constructed, Blank’s...

  • Burden of Dreams
    Movie + 4 extras

    Burden of Dreams

    Movie + 4 extras

    Directed by Les Blank • 1982 • United States

    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 jungle. ...

  • A Poem Is a Naked Person
    Movie + 6 extras

    A Poem Is a Naked Person

    Movie + 6 extras

    Directed by Les Blank • 1974 • United States

    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 ...

  • Sworn to the Drum: A Tribute to Francisco Aguabella

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by Les Blank • 1995 • United States

    The impassioned rhythms of Francisco Aguabella’s conga propel this portrait of the great Afro-Cuban percussionist.

  • The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists

    Movie + 3 extras

    Directed by Les Blank • 1994 • United States

    This documentary from Les Blank follows the indomitable Gerald ‘The Maestro’ Gaxiola, who turned to a life of prolific art making after years as an aircraft mechanic, traveling salesman, and body builder. While, in Gaxiola’s words, ‘art is a religion,...

  • Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking

    Movie + 1 extra

    Directed by Les Blank • 1990 • United States

    Exploration of cajun cooking and culture.

41 Videos

  • Les Blank on A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON

    In February 2013, shortly before filmmaker Les Blank’s death, a screening of A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON took place at Pixar Animation Studios in Northern California, with Blank in attendance. Presented here are excerpts from his discussion with the audience of family and friends.

  • Harrod Blank and Leon Russell on A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON, 2015

    Director Les Blank’s son Harrod Blank was instrumental in helping A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON see the light of day, after it had gone largely unseen for decades. In this conversation, Blank sits down with the film’s subject, musician Leon Russell, in Nashville to talk about POEM’s long journey, from...

  • "Lightnin’ Les"

    Lightnin’ Hopkins initially resisted Les Blank’s attempts to film him, but he softened after a long night the two spent playing cards together. This footage shows Hopkins performing a song he wrote in honor of the filmmaker’s futile efforts at the table.

  • GARLIC IS AS GOOD AS TEN MOTHERS: Remembering Les

    Producer and programmer Tom Luddy and chef Alice Waters’s long friendship with director Les Blank began in Berkeley, California, in the late 1960s. Luddy fell in love with Blank’s films then, and Waters hosted Blank regularly at her restaurant. In this 2014 conversation, they discuss Blank’s cont...

  • Burden of Dreams

    Directed by Les Blank • 1982 • United States

    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 jungle. ...

  • A Poem Is a Naked Person

    Directed by Les Blank • 1974 • United States

    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 ...

  • Sworn to the Drum: A Tribute to Francisco Aguabella

    Directed by Les Blank • 1995 • United States

    The impassioned rhythms of Francisco Aguabella’s conga propel this portrait of the great Afro-Cuban percussionist.

  • The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists

    Directed by Les Blank • 1994 • United States

    This documentary from Les Blank follows the indomitable Gerald ‘The Maestro’ Gaxiola, who turned to a life of prolific art making after years as an aircraft mechanic, traveling salesman, and body builder. While, in Gaxiola’s words, ‘art is a religion,...