Podcast #3 – A Discussion of Les Blank

0 Comments 18 April 2013

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.”


For more on documentaries, check Christopher’s Documentary Channel Blog and follow us on Twitter at @DSWalber and @TheFilmCynic

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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:

Buy Les Blank’s films on his website

Burden of Dreams on Hulu

Only the Young on Amazon Instant

Her Master’s Voice on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant

Tchoupitoulas on Amazon Instant


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“The Realness” is a weekly podcast about documentary film. Hosts Daniel Walber and Christopher Campbell discuss new and classic titles, genres, methods, ethics and other important topics regarding non-fiction cinema. Sometimes they’re joined by filmmakers and other figures from the documentary community.

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