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.
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