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.
Donald Richie Uncovers the Traces of a Lost Japan
In collaboration with director Lucille Carra, the renowned writer brought his impressionistic travelogue The Inland Sea—an unusual choice for a film adaptation—to the big screen.
A Palette That Sizzles On-Screen
Filmmaker Darnell Martin and writer Nelson George discuss how vividly Do the Right Thing captures the heat of a Brooklyn summer and the diverse skin tones of its cast of color.
A Genius of French Cinema Delivers a Career-Defining Performance
Raimu is at his subtle best in one of the most moving scenes in The Baker’s Wife, a moment in which the actor channels the collective despair of France’s working class.