More than forty years after legendary documentarian Les Blank began filming singer-songwriter Leon Russell, the brilliant work that emerged from his observations, A Poem Is a Naked Person, is finally available on Blu-ray and DVD. This long-awaited vérité wonder melds Blank’s idiosyncratic, off-the-cuff filmmaking style with Russell’s dynamic talent, to create an intimate and beautifully unique portrait of an artist. Blank’s film, wholly imbued with his singular style, shows the storied musician and his rotating cast of characters in a variety of situations and locales, from captivating concert footage to scenes from Russell’s Oklahoma recording studio. The clip below offers a brief glimpse at this eccentric film and its spirited performer, following Russell as he plays the Hank Williams song “Jambalaya (on the Bayou)” with a plate of barbecue atop his piano.
A Subtler Side of the Hepburn-Grant Magic
Filmmaker and distributor Michael Schlesinger and critic Michael Sragow dive into the pleasures of Holiday, a romantic-comedy classic that has long stood in the shadow of The Philadelphia Story but has a poignancy all its own.
Wim Wenders Looks Back on the Digital Future He Predicted
From search engines to all-engrossing handheld devices, the technologies that the German director conjured for his 1991 opus Until the End of the World are now common features of contemporary life.
John Bailey Breaks Down a Tour de Force of Gothic Lighting
The veteran cinematographer takes a close look at the highly stylized and atmospheric lighting in one of the most pivotal scenes in pre-Code classic The Story of Temple Drake.
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.