Les Blank Always for Pleasure Criterion Collection
The films of Les Blank are modest, intimate works of irrepressible curiosity. The Florida-born filmmaker, who passed away in 2013 at age 77, dedicated his life to documenting regions of the United States far too often overlooked in not only cinema, but in national news and media coverage as well. Blank had an insatiable appetite, both literally and figuratively, his camera drawn to cultures and cuisines with roots extending far beyond their remote milieus. As such, these nonfiction works, self-produced after a fashion under the banner of Blank's Berkeley-based Flower Films, are at once geographically small-scale and sociologically vast. Whether observing traditional Cajun and Creole cooking practices or the rich musical heritages of the blues, polka, or zydeco genres, Blank remained in constant pursuit of unknown peoples, places, and pleasures.
This collector's set provides a diverse survey of Les Blank’s vast output, including fourteen of his best-known works and eight related short films.

3xBD50 + 5xDVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC 4:3 | 569 minutes
134 Gb + 36.4 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Genre: Documentary


Films Include:

The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins (1968, 31 minutes)
Soon after founding his production company, Flower Films, Les Blank got up close to the legendary Texas blues musician Lightnin’ Hopkins for this rollicking film.

God Respects Us When We Work, but Loves Us When We Dance (1968, 20 minutes)
Blank took his camera to the historic 1967 Easter Sunday love-in in Los Angeles for this immersive, even spiritual collage of a film.

Spend It All (1971, 43 minutes)
Blank journeys down the bayous and byways of Southwest Louisiana in this riveting portrait of the region’s Cajun community.

A Well Spent Life (1971, 44 minutes)
Musician Mance Lipscomb commands the screen in Blank's vivid sketch of a man some consider the greatest blues guitarist who ever lived.

Dry Wood (1973, 37 minutes)
Blank ventured back to Southwest Louisiana for this work of ramshackle beauty, an immersion in the region's black Creole community that teems with delightful detail.

Hot Pepper (1973, 54 minutes)
This is an energetic portrait of the Grammy-winning Creole musician Clifton Chenier, a.k.a. the King of Zydeco; Blank beautifully captures his music's propulsive, foot-tapping joy.

Always for Pleasure (1978, 57 minutes)
Blank's raucous tribute to the sights, sounds, and flavors of New Orleans is perhaps his most sustained representation of pure joy.

Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers (1980, 50 minutes)
More than just a nonfiction lark, Blank's highly personal film ode to the “stinking rose” is a loving tribute both to a food that unites the most disparate of cuisines and to the East Bay, California, community that appears on-screen.

Sprout Wings and Fly (1983, 30 minutes)
This is a warm depiction of the life of old-time fiddler Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

In Heaven There Is No Beer? (1984, 49 minutes)
A cinematic jamboree, this film finds Blank in a characteristically jubilant mode as he explores “polka happiness” and the Polish American polka subculture.

Gap-Toothed Women (1987, 31 minutes)
Blank breezily questions our commonly accepted standards of beauty with this paean to women with extra-wide dental spaces.

Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking (1990, 31 minutes)
Accordionist Marc Savoy and his family and friends show us how to make goo courtbouillon, gumbo, etouffee, boudin, and other Cajun and Creole delights.

The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists (1994, 53 minutes)
This portrait of the free-spirited painter and singing cowboy Gerald Gaxiola is a testament to creativity unencumbered by commerce.

Sworn to the Drum: A Tribute to Francisco Aguabella (1995, 34 minutes)
The impassioned rhythms of Francisco Aguabella's conga propel this portrait of the great Afro-Cuban percussionist.

Extras:
• Excerpt from Les Blank: A Quiet Revelation, a film project by Harrod Blank and Gina Leibrecht
• New interviews with Blank’s sons, Harrod and Beau; Blank documentary subject Gerald Gaxiola (a.k.a. the Maestro); Blank’s friends and collaborators Skip Gerson, Maureen Gosling, Taylor Hackford, Werner Herzog, Susan Kell, Tom Luddy, David Silberberg, and Chris Simon; and chef and author Alice Waters
• Related shorts by Blank: The Sun’s Gonna Shine (1968), More Fess (1978), Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge (1991), My Old Fiddle: A Visit with Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge (1994), and The Maestro Rides Again (2005)
• Two outtake performances from The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins

Download Les Blank: Always for Pleasure (1968-2006) 5 x DVD9 and 3 x Blu-Ray Criterion Collection:

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