Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980) - News Poster

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The Dank Meme of the Mountains: Werner Herzog's Comic Side

  • MUBI
StroszekWerner Herzog is funny. It’s unfortunate that this needs to be restated, but such is the cultural conversation—between those who seem not to have taken Land of Silence and Darkness (1971) seriously enough (if at all) and those who prefer their auteurs give off the rarified air of a Tarkovsky, musing under a tree. Of course, the truth is both and neither; that Herzog has always been one for whom exercises in the absurd or even slapstick come in lock step with declarations of his artistic chops. The missing of this proverbial boat is epitomized in “The memeification of Werner Herzog: Why the respected director should be respected for his genius, not regarded as a joke,” published in the National Post last month. The article argues un-controversially that Werner Herzog is a very good filmmaker always worthy of more attention, but then argues that in spite of what
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6 More Filmmaking Tips from Werner Herzog

6 More Filmmaking Tips From Werner Herzog

If there’s anyone who deserves a second Filmmaking Tips column, it’s Werner Herzog. It’s been almost four years since we posted the first list of his advice to fellow soldiers of cinema, and there’s just so much more to learn from the legend. He actually has his own Rogue Film School, where he directly imparts his wisdom to students during weekend seminars. He also leads a new online course at MasterClass, which began this week, where he talks about all facets of fiction and nonfiction filmmaking in a six-hour video course. He does many interviews (this week he participated in a Reddit Ama) and shares his philosophies and strategies often. Not even two of these columns properly sums it all up.

So, as is often the case, this is just an introduction to some essential tips from a unique artist and craftsman. Herzog
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Werner Herzog: Ecstatic Fictions - A Feature Film Retrospective

Werner Herzog: Ecstatic Fictions, a retrospective dedicated to Werner Herzog's fiction filmmaking, will be running on Mubi in the United States from May 28 - July 29, 2016.My Best Fiend: A metaphor for...something "It’s a great metaphor,” Werner Herzog declares proudly towards the end of My Best Fiend, his autobiographical reflection on fifteen years of cinematic collaboration with actor Klaus Kinski. The metaphor in question is visual. Herzog and film set photographer Beat Presser are looking at a black and white photo hanging in Presser’s apartment. It’s a striking tableau and gripping enough that it would become the poster image for Herzog's 1982 collaboration with Kinski, Fitzcarraldo. The titular character stands in the foreground, yet with his back to the camera. His emotions are unavailable, but he is undoubtedly preoccupied with the 300 ton steamboat high above him at an impossible 90 degree angle, as it disappears up
See full article at MUBI »

Kino Lorber Acquires North American Rights To Les Blank & Gina Leibrecht’s How To Smell A Rose: A Visit With Ricky Leacock In Normandy

Kino Lorber is proud to announce the acquisition of all North American rights to Les Blank & Gina Leibrecht‘s How To Smell A Rose: A Visit With Ricky Leacock In Normandy, a moving tribute by one cinema verité master to another.

Opening at New York’s Film Forum on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, How To Smell Of Rose: A Visit With Ricky Leacock In Normandy was co-directed by Les Blank and his longtime creative partner, Gina Leibrecht. How To Smell A Rose: A Visit With Ricky Leacock is the penultimate film directed by Les Blank, before he passed away on April 7, 2013.

During its theatrical run at Film Forum, How To Smell A Rose will be screened with the Leacock-Joyce Chopra classic, Happy Mother’S Day, on the 1963 birth of the Fischer quintuplets in Aberdeen, South Dakota. In further national theatrical engagements “Rose” will be presented with Les Blank’s now classic
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Criterion Collection: Gates of Heaven / Vernon, Florida | Blu-ray Review

Long before he developed the still controversial cinematic technique of utilizing reenactments in The Thin Blue Line or his confessional-esque straight-to-lens Interrotron which was used for the first time in Fast, Cheap and Out of Control and continues to employ in works like his recent It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports series for Espn, Errol Morris was struck by the absurdities found within the average American. Superbly paired together in their first HD home releases by the Criterion Collection, Morris’s first two features, Gates of Heaven and Vernon, Florida, simply observe the expressive outpourings of rural folk, the lens taking in their unaccountably amusing opinions, worries and musings on life and local events with local, unadorn color featuring above all.

The start of Morris’s filmmaking career unfolded in the wake of working alongside friend and provocateur Werner Herzog on Stroszek after failing to follow through with his
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Criterion Collection: Les Blank: Always for Pleasure | Blu-ray Review

Many people may know Les Blank most for his association with Werner Herzog, who he filmed while on the brink of creative madness in Burden of Dreams and earlier in Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, in which the notoriously true-to-his-word filmmaker indeed ate his shoe after having promised he’d do so if Errol Morris managed to finish his pet cemetery film, Gates of Heaven. But those ignoring the larger majority of Blank’s overflowing oeuvre would be sorely missing out on the jubilance of life that the quietly curious documentarian managed to strike on film with just his trusty 16mm Eclair, his appreciation for cultures of all kinds, and a fervent hunger for life. Sadly, Blank passed away in the spring of last year, just weeks before receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award and a restored retrospective of his body of work in Toronto at the Hot Docs Film Festival,
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Movies This Week: September 13-19, 2013

Austin Film Society's "Western All'Italiana" series continues tonight and Sunday with Sergio Sollima's Face To Face from 1967 at the Marchesa. The Les Blank Memorial Fish Fry will be a more intimate gathering on Saturday evening at the Afs Screening Room. There will indeed be a fish fry and beer along with 16mm screenings of several Blank documentaries including 1980's Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (a recent addition to Criterion's Hulu Plus channel if you can't make it).

One of the best things about Afs taking over the Marchesa (and their installation of a new Dcp projection system) is that very niche independent and foreign releases that would otherwise never make it to the big screen in Austin are getting screened. This Sunday afternoon, you won't want to miss Paradise: Love, the first film in Ulrich Seidl's acclaimed and controversial new trilogy. You'll have a chance to see the
See full article at Slackerwood »

Les Blank and Werner Herzog: strange dreams and sole food

Les Blank's most widely known work was his remarkable documentary Burden of Dreams (1982) in which he followed the hazardous and chaotic filming of Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. Herzog's grandiose screwball epic tells of the attempt of an eccentric Irish rubber baron called Fitzgerald (Fitzcarraldo to the natives) to establish an opera house in the Peruvian jungle. For this purpose, he has to haul a massive steamboat over a mountain. "If I should abandon this film I should be a man without dreams … I live my life or end my life with the project," Herzog tells Blank's objective camera.

Blank's ethnological approach lets the viewer decide whether we should admire Herzog's tenacity and daring or see him as a deluded European confronting and disturbing tribal existence. In fact, one could argue that Burden of Dreams is more interesting and perceptive than the long haul of Fitzcarraldo.

"Burden of Dreams was nothing
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Noteworthy: R.I.P. Les Blank (1935-2013), Remembering Ebert, Lumière's "Highlights 2012"

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News.

Above: documentary filmmaker Les Blank—perhaps best known for his two incredible Herzog-centric films Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe and Burden of Dreams—has passed away at the age of 77. It feels like the cinema is losing too many of its soldiers lately. In the past week, the sheer volume of impassioned remembrances of Roger Ebert has been overwhelming. David Hudson has done an admirable job of centralizing a great many of them, and rather than try to share them here I recommend heading over to Keyframe Daily and using it as a springboard (if you haven't already). Also of note: Roger Ebert's website has been lovingly redesigned in his memory. Now online from Lumière, an array of lists and writings on "Highlights" of 2012 from various contributors including Ken Jacobs, our own Daniel Kasman, David Phelps, Gina Telaroli, Boris Nelepo, and more. An amazing series begins next month
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Les Blank dead: Documentary filmmaker dies at 77

  • Pop2it
Prolific documentary filmmaker Les Blank died on Sunday (April 7) at the age of 77, according to The New York Times. He passed away from bladder cancer in his home in Berkely, Ca.

Blank (full name: Leslie Harrod Blank Jr.) was born on November 27, 1935 in Tampa, Fla. While he never became a household name, his lengthy career earned him lifetime achievement awards from the American Film Institute and the International Documentary Association, though he didn't think of himself as a documentarian. Rather, he saw himself as a filmmaker whose work happened to be about real people, according to his former wife Chris Simon.

Best known for his films that turned the lens on fellow filmmaker Werner Herzog (1979's "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" and 1982's "Burden of Dreams"), Blank was also known for spotlighting the periphery of America, providing exposure on pockets of culture that Hollywood often steered away from.

Of Blank,
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Les Blank, filmmaker with an eye and ear for the eccentric, dies at 77

Les Blank, filmmaker with an eye and ear for the eccentric, dies at 77
Les Blank, the documentary director who followed fellow filmmaker Werner Herzog to record his devotion to art (Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe in 1979) as well as his exotic descent into obsession (Burden of Dreams in 1982), died Sunday at age 77, according to the The New York Times.

Leslie Harrod Blank Jr.’s own obsessions included a rapturous appreciation of regional music and cuisine, which echoed in a filmography that included The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins in 1969; Chicken Real in 1970; Garlic Is as Good as 10 Mothers in 1980; and Ry Cooder And The Moula Banda Rhythm Aces in 1988;. Blank, born in Tampa,
See full article at EW.com - Inside Movies »

Watch Werner Herzog Eat His Shoe, in Honor of Les Blank (1935-2013)

Filmmaker Les Blank died today at age 77 from bladder cancer. He is best known for directing Burden of Dreams, a feature film on the making of Werner Herzog‘s Fitzcarraldo. Roger Ebert, who we lost to cancer just days ago, called it “one of the most remarkable documentaries ever made about the making of a movie.” Two years earlier, Blank made another film with Herzog as the subject. It’s wonderful title is Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. Probably not coincidentally, it also involved one of Ebert’s favorite films of all time, Errol Morris‘s directorial debut, Gates of Heaven. The 20-minute short film is, of course, literally named. Blank shows us Herzog cooking up his shoe and then eating it during a public event, part on stage at the Uc Theater in Berkeley in front of a large crowd and part at a famous Berkeley restaurant called Chez Panisse. Why
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Documentary director best known for his unusual collaborations with German director Herzog died earlier today Les Blank, among whose directorial efforts is the British Film Academy-winning documentary Burden of Dreams, about the bizarre events surrounding the making of Werner Herzog's Amazon-set Fitzcarraldo, died in Berkeley, California, earlier today, according to an article found on the web site Deadline.com. Blank, who had been suffering from cancer, was 77. Pictured above: Herzog is the maddeningly obsessive star of the 1982 documentary Burden of Dreams. Near the end of the 1960s, Blank was directing industrial and promotional shorts in order to bankroll his i documentary shorts, including Chicago Film Festival winner The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins (1969) and God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance (1969), about the burgeoning "flower children" scene. Music and the cultural context encompassing it were frequent themes in Blank's work. Examples include the norteño
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

R.I.P. Les Blank (1935 - 2013); Watch His Docs 'Burden of Dreams,' 'Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe' & More

The myriad stories of venerable filmmaker Werner Herzog are mythic, and he's often considered a living legend. He was shot with an air rifle during an interview and brushed it off. He pulled a man out of car wreckage on a canyon road above Sunset Blvd. and it turned out to be Joaquin Phoenix. But the early legends of Herzog and his cinematic exploits crystallized largely thanks to documentarian Les Blank. The filmmaker captured the short film, “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe” in 1979 -- Herzog lost a bet to then-fledgling filmmaker Errol Morris who he ventured would never make a movie -- and then later directed and shot the astounding doc, "Burden Of Dreams" (1982), about the chaotic production Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo," filmed in the jungles of South America in the same year. Known for his idiosyncractic docummentaries about the eccentric, sadly, the New York Times reports this afternoon that Blank died
See full article at The Playlist »

Docu Filmmaker Les Blank Dies at 77

Docu Filmmaker Les Blank Dies at 77
Documentary filmmaker Les Blank, known for highly personal docus such as “Burden of Dreams” and “Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers,” died Sunday at his home in Berkeley, Calif., according to the New York Times. He was 77 and had been suffering from bladder cancer.

The prolific helmer profiled music personalities and delved into dozens of American and immigrant traditions, including Cajun, Mexican, Polish, Hawaiian and Serbian-American music and food. But his best-known film was 1982′ “Burden of Dreams,” which chronicled the making of Werner Herzog’s “Fitzcarraldo,” candidly showing the German helmer’s obsessive quest to shoot the film the South American jungle. A few years earlier, Blank had taken on another curious Herzog project: Herzog wanted to encourage his student Errol Morris to finish his film about pet cemeteries, and said he would eat his shoe if Morris finished it. Herzog kept his promise when “Gates of Heaven” wrapped
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Werner Herzog: 'I've made bigger films than Reacher'

From dragging a steamship across a mountain to eating his own shoes, Werner Herzog has always traded in the unexpected. Now he is co-starring in a Tom Cruise action film

Werner Herzog has dragged a real-life steamship across a real-life mountain; he once pulled a gun on his longtime star collaborator Klaus Kinski and told him to act or die; he took a film crew to the lip of la Grande Soufrière, a volcano in Guadeloupe that seismologists had predicted would erupt at any moment (it didn't); he was accidentally shot in the stomach during a filmed interview with the BBC ("It is not a significant bullet") and once, aided by Californian chef Alice Waters, he cooked – with garlic and herbs – and then ate his own shoe, an event chronicled in his friend Les Blank's evocatively title docushort Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.

These are the bedrock fables of the
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Amazing Race: Final Predictions For The 2012 Academy Awards

We've written, by vague estimates, something close to 80,000 words on the Academy Awards in the last six months. That's novel-length. And in two days time, it'll all be done, with the ceremony finally taking place at the no-longer-Kodak Theater at around 5pm Pst.

As such, we're not going to bother you too much with small talk: below, you'll find my final predictions for who's going to win on Sunday night. Tomorrow, the Playlist's boss man will weigh in with his own picks. And on Sunday, we'll be live-blogging the ceremony and winners, before final analysis comes in on Monday morning. Have a good Oscar weekend, boys and girls.

Best Documentary Short

"The Barber Of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement"

"God Is The Bigger Elvis"

"Incident In New Baghdad"

"Saving Face"

"The Tsunami & The Cherry Blossom"

Unclear on what's what here? Well, we've got Robin Fryday's "The Barber of Birmingham,
See full article at The Playlist »

Errol Morris: creating reality

The documentary-maker talks to Sukhdev Sandhu about working as a private detective, breaking into a mental hospital and the spat with Us beauty queen Joyce McKinney over his new film, Tabloid

This is weird. The documentary film-maker Errol Morris says he likes the Guardian – "It's my favourite paper" – but, sitting in the lobby of a sleekly manicured hotel in New York's SoHo district to talk about his work, it's not clear if he likes documentaries very much. "This is going to get me depressed," he groans. "I feel as if I became a documentary film-maker only because I had writer's block for four decades. There's no other good reason. I don't know what I should be doing. I'm tired of everything – mostly of myself."

It's weird not because Morris is being downbeat – after all, he once had a magazine column entitled The Grump; a typical post on his Twitter account
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Top 5 Reasons why David Lynch should make a 3D movie

Let it be known I do not like 3D. It is essentially pointless, too expensive and adds nothing to the story whilst simultaneously decreasing the accuracy and saturation of the colour. Yes Toy Story 3 was amazing but not because it was screened in 3D.

In the eighties, 3D was a novelty that worked to sell movies for the briefest of time and while 21st century 3D is much more advanced, it is still that same gimmick. Recent diminishing returns on 3D movies (Disney’s Mars Needs Moms is currently the fourth biggest box-office flop ever) proves that audiences are still much more interested in a good story than seeing a ball or a knife coming out at them from the screen.

However, never one to disappoint with his unique story-telling, it is possible that David Lynch could utilise 3D in a way that will enhance his next feature and in
See full article at Shadowlocked »

Oxford Film Festival 2011 | Preview

Unfortunately, Smells Like Screen Spirit could not find affordable enough airfare to get us to Oxford, Mississippi for the eighth annual Oxford Film Festival on February 10 - 13, 2011. Off 2011 is scheduled to host 13 world premieres, three national premieres, 33 regional premieres, and ten Mississippi premieres...as well as other notable “spotlight films" -- it will just have to go on without us. The festival's special guest will be Les Blank, who will screen his 1980 short film Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, on opening night. Michael Adams, author of the recently released book Showgirls, Teen Wolves and Astro Zombies: A Film Critic's Year-Long Quest to Find the Worst Movie Ever Made, will also be in attendance. Several people told me last year to keep an eye on the up and coming Oxford Film Festival, and after seeing their 2011 program I understand why. Here is a breakdown of some of the films screening at
See full article at SmellsLikeScreenSpirit »
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