This week we dive into the work of the late Les Blank, one of the great documentarians of American culture. We’re joined by Charlotte Cook, Director of Programming for Hot Docs, for a discussion of Blank’s unique style and why her festival is honoring him this month with their Outstanding Achievement Award. After a brief word about what else Hot Docs has to offer, we turn to a conversation about our favorite Blank films. Finally, we recommend a few more contemporary documentaries that fit into the upbeat, musical spirit of his work.
Correction: when Christopher says “John Waters” when talking about ’80s teen movies he meant to say “John Hughes.”
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- Intro: 00:00–2:04
- Conversation with Charlotte Cook: 2:36–26:28
- Our Favorite Blank Films and Weekly Doc Recommendations: 27:01–45:52
- Les Blank retrospective at Hot Docs
- Doc Criticism panel at Hot Docs, featuring Christopher
- J. Hoberman’s obituary of Blank at Art Info
- Daniel on Blank’s signature sense of joy at Film.com
- Christopher on five wonderful films by Blank at Documentary Channel
Watch the Docs: