Burden of Dreams

Criterion Collection/Janus Films
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Screening Room with Les Blank
Beginning with The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins in 1969, Les Blank has become known for his films about indigenous southern music and various other topics. He has received numerous major awards including the British Academy Award for Burden of Dreams, about Werner Herzog and the making of Fitzcarraldo, top…
Juliet of the Spirits
Cinematographer Gianni di Venanzo's masterful use of Technicolor transforms Juliet of the Spirits, Fellini's first color feature, into a kaleidoscope of dreams, spirits, and memories. Giulietta Masina plays a betrayed wife whose inability to come to terms with reality leads her along a hallucinatory journey of self-discovery. The Criterion Collection…
Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists
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.
Always for Pleasure
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 Gras, and the Jazz Fest. The film features live music…
The Freshman
Harold Lloyd's biggest box-office hit was this silent comedy gem, featuring the befuddled everyman at his eager best as a new college student. Though he dreams of being a big man on campus, the freshman's careful plans inevitably go hilariously awry, be it on the football field or at the…
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 recording studio in northeast Oklahoma, Blank ended up constructing a…
Every Night Dreams
In the formally ravishing Every-Night Dreams, set in the dockside neighborhoods of Tokyo, a single mother works tirelessly as a Ginza bar hostess to ensure a better life for her young son--until her long-lost husband returns. Additional Reading: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/1787-eclipse-series-26-silent-naruse
Spend It All
Blank journeys down the bayous and byways of Southwest Louisiana in this riveting portrait of the region's Cajun community.
Antonio Gaudi
Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926) designed some of the world's most astonishing buildings, interiors, and parks; Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara constructed some of the most aesthetically audacious films ever made. Here their artistry melds in a unique, enthralling cinematic experience. Less a documentary than a visual poem, Teshigahara's Antonio Gaudi…
Au Hasard Balthazar
A profound masterpiece from one of the most revered filmmakers in the history of cinema, director Robert Bresson's Au hasard Balthazar follows the donkey Balthazar as he is passed from owner to owner, some kind and some cruel but all with motivations beyond his understanding. Balthazar, whose life parallels that…
Street of Shame
For his final film, Mizoguchi brought a lifetime of experience to bear on the heartbreaking tale of a brothel full of women whose dreams are constantly being shattered by the socioeconomic realities surrounding them. Set in Tokyo's Red Light District (the literal translation of the Japanese title), Street of Shame…
Hoop Dreams
Two ordinary inner-city Chicago kids dare to reach for the impossible--professional basketball glory--in this epic chronicle of hope and faith. Filmed over a five-year period, Hoop Dreams, by Steve James, Frederick Marx, and Peter Gilbert, follows young Arthur Agee and William Gates and their families as the boys navigate the…