A documentary on the history of garlic. Blank interviews chefs, garlic lovers, and historians about the their love of the ‘stinking rose.’
Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers (1980)
A zesty paean of praise to the greater glories of garlic. This lip-smacking foray into the history, consumption, cultivation and culinary/curative powers of the stinking rose features chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, and a flavorful musical soundtrack.
The SF Chronicle called this paean to garlic “a joyous, nose-tweaking, ear-tingling, mouth-watering tribute to a Life Force.” Nothing less than a hymn to the stinking rose of the kitchen, this lovingly photographed documentary is an odyssey of garlic feasts alternated with uniquely individual interviews of garlic afficionados. Not only does the film promote garlic as our first line of defense against all forms of blandness; it also titillates the taste buds with shots of garlic dishes sizzling in their pans. Les Blank shows again that he knows how to have a good time and share it on film – especially if it involves food! Continue reading
Documentarian Les Blank, who filmed Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, trained his cameras on Herzog again, as the eccentric German filmmaker made his epic, Fitzcarraldo, in the Amazon rainforest of Peru. Herzog’s production is in trouble right from the start. He begins filming with Jason Robards playing the title role, and Mick Jagger playing Fitzcarraldo’s sidekick, Wilbur. With 40 percent of the film shot, Robards becomes ill and goes back to the states, where his doctor will not let him return. Because of the delay, Jagger, with album and tour commitments, is forced to quit the production.
Thinking no one can fill the rock star’s shoes, Herzog jettisons Jagger’s role. He eventually casts his frequent collaborator Klaus Kinski as Fitzcarraldo and begins shooting again. Continue reading
The great Texas bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins is captured brilliantly in this deeply moving film. Blank reveals Lightnin’s inspiration, and features a generous helping of classic blues. Includes performances at an outdoor barbeque and a black rodeo; and a visit to his boyhood town of Centerville, Texas. This powerful portrait is among Blank’s special masterworks. 31 minutes.Video also contains: The Sun’s Gonna Shine (1969)
For almost 20 years, Les Blank has scoured modern America for the remnants of a simpler, happier, richer life. A life that usually centers around such indigenous music as blues, zydeco and norteño. His lyric documentaries honor the origins and settings that beget such music in what has evolved into a personal visual language: skies and rivers and roads and fields and pastures; tools and wildflowers; well-worked hands and well-earned faces; and, above all, food–the festive, greasy, smoking, aromatic indelicacies of America’s regional cuisines. His work is a national treasure and is worth a look almost without exception. Continue reading
Yum, Yum, Yum! is a glorius celebration of cooking and eating in Louisiana. It’s Les Blank and Maureen Gosling’s latest love song to the little-known Cajun and Creole cultures of the Gulf Coast and backwood bayous. It’s as seductive as a five-star dinner in one of New Orleans’ top-line restuarants, as simple (and unforgettable) as a home-cooked meal in Eunice.