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Les Blank loves his subjects and wants you to love them too.
This early 31 minute film by Les Blank captures what's terrific about Blank's style. The love and admiration he feels for his subjects, his willingness not to sugar coat the dark sides (like Hopkins' drinking), and the embrace of music and food as exemplars of the joys of existence.
It's hard not to smile watching Blank's work. The home-spun approach to his film-making hand drawn titles, an avoidance of anything slick or fancy in his style, no narrator to create distance, makes it feel like you're watching a friend's home movies about a subject they're really excited about.
But the art lies in the fact that these 'home movies' uncannily capture people, places and whole cultures with an immediacy and vibrancy that too few documentaries have. I also like that Blank makes his films just as long as he feels they needs to be, without worry. If that means one film is 20 minutes and another 180, that won't bother him. Blank is following his gut, with no look to how it's 'supposed' to be done.
By the end of this film, I wanted to run and buy a stack of Lightnin' Hopkins recordings. That's a pretty good endorsement.
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