Academy Theater at Lighthouse International
111 E 59th Street
New York, NY, 10022
On Tuesday, July 30, at 7 p.m., the Academy presented a New York salute to prolific documentarian Les Blank (1935-2013), featuring three new Academy Film Archive restorations of his work.
The New York Times called Blank “a documentarian of folk cultures who transforms anthropology into art.” His work has been described as poetic, giving fascinating glimpses into the lives, culture and music of people in different parts of the U.S.
The program at the Academy Theater included Blank’s first student film, “Running around Like a Chicken with its Head Cut Off” (1960, 4 min.), an homage to Ingmar Bergman’s “Seventh Seal.” Other highlights will include the East Coast premieres of the Academy’s restorations of “Chicken Real” (1970, 23 min.), a surrealistic look at a large-scale chicken farm that produces 156 million chickens a year; “Christopher Tree” (1968, 10 min.), about a one-man orchestra that includes 40 Tibetan temple gongs, flutes, tympani and wind chimes; and “Spend It All” (1971, 41 min.) a documentary celebrating Cajun music, culture and food.
Special guests: Academy Film Archive preservationist Mark Toscano and Harrod Blank, Les’s son.
This was the first of three Les Blank nights in New York – there will be a program at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) on August 1 and at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens on August 2.