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Les Blank Tribute Program


With Harrod Blank and archivist Mark Toscano in person

Presented in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The great documentary filmmaker Les Blank (1935–2013) made poetic, vibrant films that captured the lives, culture, food, and music of people at the periphery of American society. This special tribute to Blank, who died this April, consists of three of his most beloved films, shown in beautifully restored prints from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

Dir. Les Blank, 1979, 22 mins. 16mm. Yes, German film director Werner Herzog really does eat his shoe to fulfill a vow to fellow filmmaker Errol Morris—boldly exemplifying his belief that people must have the guts to attempt what they dream of. Inspiring.

Dry Wood

Dir. Les Blank, Maureen Gosling. 1973, 37 mins. 16mm. A fascinating look at black Creole life in French Louisiana, held together by the wild, insistent music of Bois-Sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot.

Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers

Dir. Les Blank, Maureen Gosling. 1980, 51 mins. 16mm. This lip-smacking foray into the history, consumption, cultivation, and culinary/curative powers of the stinking rose features visits to garlic festivals and feasts, the legendary chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, and a flavorful musical soundtrack.

Presented in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Tickets for Friday evening screenings: $12 ($9 for senior citizens and students / free for Museum members) and includes admission to the Museum’s galleries, which are open until 8:00 p.m.