Les Blank is a renowned independent filmmaker, whose poetic work offers intimate, idiosyncratic glimpses into the lives, culture, and music of passionate people at the periphery of American society. Topics have included Cajun, Mexican, Polish, Hawaiian, and Serbian-American music and food traditions, Afro-Cuban drummers, Texas bluesmen, Appalachian fiddlers, flower children, garlic, and gap-toothed women. His films have been honored at Sundance, BAFTA, Chicago International, and AFI.
Sadly, Les Blank passed away earlier this year after a brave struggle with cancer. In his wake, he left a treasure trove of archeological filmmaking for everyone to enjoy. From that archive, we have chosen some of the best music films that capture the heart of his style and energy.
THE MUSIC FILMS OF LES BLANK
Saturday Aug 10th – 6:30pm
Dizzy Gillespie (1965 – 23 min) – Les Blank’s earliest music film. Great Dizzy performances and personal moments.
The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1970 – 31 min) – A portrait of the great Texas bluesman, Lightnin’ Hopkins.
Hot Pepper (1973 – 54 min) – profile of Clifton Chenier – the self-crowned “King” of Zydeco accordion.
Sunday Aug 11th – 6:30pm
Sprout Wings and Fly (1983 – 30 min) – A compassionate, life-affirming document of Appalachian fiddler Tommy Jarrel.
A Well Spent Life (1971 – 44 min) – Tribute to the Texas songster and guitar great, Mance Lipscomb.
Chulas Fronteras (51 min) – portrait of the Tex-Mex scene and its musical protest against migrant worker oppression.