Short Films of Les Blank I

Les Blank Films
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5 videos in this playlist

Chicken Real
One of Blank's industrial films, which follows a Holly Farms "broiler" chicken from factory incubation to the barbecue pit at a county fair. Hilarious, disturbing but, ultimately simply surreal. Includes…
Cigarette Blues
This is a microcosmic Les Blank film in which bluesman Sonny Rhodes simultaneously addresses three of the filmmaker's longstanding obsessions: death, cigarette smoking and the nature of the blues. Soundtrack…
The Sun's Gonna Shine
A lyrical recreation of Lightnin' Hopkins' decision at age eight to stop chopping cotton and start singing for a living. Folklorist/Ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax called Blank's stunning and elegiac short on…
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie, Les Blank's earliest music film, focuses on the renown trumpet player, who along with Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins and others sparked the change from traditional Jazz…
Running Around Like a Chicken with Its Head Cut Off
Les Blank's first student film, starring Gail Blank, Pieter Van Deusen, and Les himself. An hommage to Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal, the film that inspired Blank to become a filmmaker.

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Oh My God! It's Harrod Blank
An obsessively-made documentary, filmed over 16 years, exploring the creative life and adventures of the eccentric artist and entrepreneur Harrod Blank. From his youth growing up in the woods with chickens and working as a camera assistant for his father- the venerable film-maker Les Blank- to the creation of his…
Short Films of Les Blank III [Student Films]
Les Blank attended USC School of Cinematic Arts and pursued a Ph.D. in communications. These sudent films, made from 1960-1962, represent his initial interest in making narrative films. Three of the films freature his wife at the time, Gail Blank, and he himself appears in two of the films as…
Short Films of Les Blank II
Five short films from Les Blank Films.
Art Car Shorts
This is a compilation of short film portraits of art car artists filmed and edited by Harrod Blank. Shooting began in 1995 and editing was completed in 2008. Shorter versions of these portraits appeared in the film Automorphosis in 2009. The goal of creating these portraits was Blank's attempt to…
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.
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…
Wild Wheels
Harrod Blank's comic and revealing exploration of Art Cars -- customized automobiles which reflect the individualistic spirit of their drivers. Traveling across the country in his own wildly decorated VW bug, the filmmaker discovers a memorable cast of real-life characters obsessed with transforming their cars into mobile works of art.…
J'ai ete au bal [I Went to the Dance]
The definitive film, by Les Blank and Chris Strachwitz, on the history of the toe-tapping, foot-stomping music of French Southwest Louisiana. The film includes many Cajun and Zydeco greats, featuring Michael Doucet and BeauSoleil, Clifton Chenier, Marc and Ann Savoy, D.L. Menard, and many others.
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…
How to Smell a Rose - A Visit with Ricky Leacock at His Farm in Normandy
HOW TO SMELL A ROSE documents Les Blank's visit with the legendary co-founder of Direct Cinema, Richard Leacock (1921-2011), in 2000. At his farm in Normandy, France, Blank, and co-director Gina Leibrecht, recorded conversations with Leacock about his life, his work, and his other passion: cooking! In the early sixties,…
Ziveli! Medicine for the Heart
This little known Les Blank gem is a portrait of the Serbian-American communities of California and Chicago. At the time of the California Gold Rush, the first Serbian immigrants arrived from the rugged Balkan Peninsula to settle in the New World. Against great obstacles, Serbian religion and identity had survived…
God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance
Blank took his camera to the historic 1967 Easter Sunday love-in in Los Angeles for this immersive, even spiritual collage of a film.