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The great American documentarian Les Blank died yesterday at age seventy-seven. A crafter of intimate, idiosyncratic nonfiction films, Blank made movies for almost fifty years; his topics included traditional American music, food, and, of course, Werner Herzog. His 1982 Burden of Dreams, an artful, meditative feature-length look behind the scenes of Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo is perhaps his most famous film. The following is an appreciation from Herzog, recorded in 2005, of his friend and fellow filmmaker, in which he talks about Blank’s unusual working methods and laconic nature.
Photo by Maureen Gosling