Les Blank: Man of the Margins 1935 - 2013



Independent filmmaker Les Blank passed away this past month, leaving in his wake over 40 films that offer 'intimate, idiosyncratic glimpses into the lives, culture, and music of passionate people at the periphery of American society.' Tonight we will celebrate his life's work with four of his short films  selected from his prolific and extraordinary filmmaking career.

A Well Spent Life (1971)

Many people consider Texas bluesman Mance Lipscomb to be the greatest blues guitarist and songster of all time. This glowing portrait of the legendary musician (also life-long husband and sharecropper) is among Blank’s special masterworks. Instead of growing bitter, tough times made Lipscomb sweet.

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1979)

Yes, German film director Werner Herzog really does eat his shoe to fulfil a vow to fellow filmmaker Errol Morris – boldly exemplifying his belief that people must have the guts to attempt what they dream of. Inspiring.

Sprout Wings and Fly (1983)

This touching tribute to Appalachian culture profiles legendary, old-time fiddler Tommy Jarrell. His unpretentious folk wisdom is interlaced with family scenes and reminiscences, plus plenty of old-time music.

Gap-Toothed Women (1987)

A charming valentine to women born with a space between their teeth, ranging from lighthearted whimsy to a deeper look at issues like self-esteem and societal attitudes towards standards of beauty. Interviews were conducted with over one hundred women, including model Lauren Hutton and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

This programme is in conjunction with CLOSE-UP's Les Blank programme on 26th May 2013 http://www.closeupfilmcentre.com/film_programmes/a-tribute-to-les-blank/


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