USA | 58 min / 31 min | Blu-Ray | Dir. Les Blank
Always for Pleasure (1978) synopsis: Les Blank’s celebration of the spirit and social traditions of New Orleans, featuring Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. It is an intense insider’s portrait of New Orleans’ street celebrations and the unique cultural gumbo of Second-line parades, Mardi Gras, and the Jazz Fest. The film features live music by Professor Longhair, The Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint, Kid Thomas Valentine and more. This glorious, soul-satisfying film is among Blank’s special masterworks.
Review: "The films of Les Blank are modest, intimate works of irrepressible curiosity. The Florida-born filmmaker, who passed away in 2013 at age 77, dedicated his life to documenting regions of the United States far too often overlooked in not only cinema, but in national news and media coverage as well. Blank had an insatiable appetite, both literally and figuratively, his camera drawn to cultures and cuisines with roots extending far beyond their remote milieus." -Jordan Cronk (Slant Magazine)
Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking (1990) synopsis: Les Blank marries his passion for spicy, down home food and his love for Cajuns and Creoles in this mouth-watering, exploration of the cooking, and other enthusiasms, of French-speaking Louisiana. Features tangy music, and food by Marc Savoy, Paul Prudhomme, and other greats.
Review: "Sharing directorial credits with long-time editor Maureen Gosling, this is another mouth-watering delight and excursion into southwestern Louisiana, 17 years after Dry Wood. It entices you catfish better than anything they serve in Paris’ best restaurants, and gradually wins you over on frog legs and cow tongue. The film is awash with memorable personalities, largely the family and friends of accordionist Marc Savoy, discussing the reason for large portions, proper seasoning, and their lack of recipes, and we learn just as much about them from polite and un-intrusive questions like “do you use a cookbook” as we would from more probing questions. The film is very much about the food, but it’s hard not to be won over by the music as well, and indeed, the genius of Blank and Gosling is that by asking simple questions about food, seasoning, quantity and length of prep time and more, they capture information about an entire culture that is so often—much to the chagrin of its people—boiled down to just its cooking. Best of all, the title doesn’t lie: you’ll be salivating within minutes." -(Spectrum Culture)
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