Flower Films

10341 San Pablo Ave.,
El Cerrito, CA 94530
Fax 510-525.1204

Also vist the Les Blank Tribute site

The Films of Les Blank

Always For Pleasure 1978 (58 minutes).
An intense insider's portrait of New Orleans including street parades, Mardi Gras, the Jazz Festival. Features Professor Longhair, the Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Neville Brothers and more. ISBN: 0-933621-00-0.

The Best of Blank 1989 (94 minutes).
An entertaining compilation of the finest musical moments from Les Blank's films, 1967-1987. Hot music! (Contains no scenes from Blank Buffet.) ISBN: 0-933621-40-X.

A Blank Buffet 1988 (60 minutes).
A sampler of the most memorable scenes of music, food and people from all of Les Blank's films through 1987. A good introduction to Blank's work. (Contains no scenes from Best of Blank.) ISBN: 0-933621-42-6.

The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins 1969 (31 minutes).
The great Lightnin' Hopkins reveals his inspiration for the blues. Includes Lightnin' in outstanding downhome performances; at an outdoor barbeque and a black rodeo; and returning to his boyhood town of Centerville, Texas. Also contains The Sun's Gonna Shine, 1969 (10 minutes). A lyrical recreation of Lightnin' Hopkins' decision at age eight to stop chopping cotton and start singing for his living. ISBN: 0-933621-04-3.

Burden of Dreams(Video) 1982 (94 minutes).
An extraordinary documentary about the messianic German director Werner Herzog, as he struggles to make his epic Fitzcarraldo in the Amazon basin. Burden of Dreams was honored with the British Academy Award in 1982. ISBN: 0-933621-05-1.

Complete your collection with the companion Burden of Dreams Book, containing the movie screenplay and the journals of Les Blank, Maureen Gosling and Werner Herzog chronicling the filmmaking perils and adventures in the Peruvian Amazon. 228 pages, 70 photos. Paperback, 1984. ISBN: 0-938190-17-2.

Chicken Real 1970 (23 minutes).
An often surrealistic look at a large scale chicken farm that produces 156 million chickens a year! Lots of chicken songs. ISBN: 0-933621-24-8

Chulas Fronteras 1976 (58 minutes).
A complex, insightful look at the Chicano experience as mirrored by the most acclaimed Norteño musicians of the Texas-Mexican border, such as Flaco Jimenez and Lydia Mendoza. Comes with additional feature Del Mero Corazón (see below for description). ISBN: 0-933779-01-X.

Cigarette Blues 1985 (6 minutes).
Oakland bluesman Sonny Rhodes sings the Cigarette Blues: a warning that compares cigarette smoking with playing with a loaded gun. ISBN: 0-933621-22-1.

Del Mero Corazón (See Chulas Fronteras) 1979 (29 minutes).
A lyrical journey through the heart of Chicano culture as reflected in the love songs of the Tex-Mex Norteña music tradition. ISBN: 0-933779-35-3.

Dizzy Gillespie 1965 (22 minutes). (B & W)
Rare images of immortal jazzman Dizzy Gillespie talking about his beginnings and music theories and blowing a lot of hot music on his famous bent horn. ISBN: 0-933621-51-5.

Dry Wood 1973 (37 minutes).
A fascinating look at black Creole life in French Louisiana, held together by the wild, insistent music of Bois-Sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot. ISBN: 0-933621-14-0.

Gap-Toothed Women 1987 (31 minutes).
Les Blank's charming valentine to women born with a space between their teeth ranges from lighthearted whimsy to deeper issues of self-esteem and societal attitudes about standards of beauty. Interviews were conducted among over one hundred women including model Lauren Hutton and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. ISBN: 0-933621-31-1.

Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers 1980 (51 minutes).
A zesty paean of praise to the greater glories of garlic. Lipsmacking foray into the history, consumption, cultivation and culinary/curative powers of the stinking rose. With chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and a jumping soundtrack. ISBN: 0-933621-16-7.

Also available: The Book of Garlic by L. John Harris, filled with folklore, recipes and remedies. 1974. Black & white illustrations, 286 pages, paperback. ISBN: 0-201-11687-1.

God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance 1968 (20 minutes).
Hippies and flower children dance and create rituals at the historic Los Angeles "Love-In" on Easter Sunday, 1967. A '60s classic documenting this once-in a lifetime phenomenon, preserving all the fashions, energy and idealism of the first "alternative lifestyles". With psychedelic special effects! ISBN: 0-933621-26-4.

Hot Pepper 1973 (54 minutes).
Portrait of Clifton Chenier, the King of Zydeco, who combines the pulsating sound of Cajun with African overtones, and belts out his music in the sweaty dance halls of South Louisiana. ISBN: 0-933621-15-9.

In Heaven There Is No Beer? 1984 (50 minutes).
A joyous romp through the dance, food, music, friendship, and even religion of the Polka. The energy and bursting spirit of the polka subculture is rendered with warmth and dedication to scholarship in this journey through Polish-American celebration. Features such polka stars as Jimmy Sturr, Eddie Blazonzyck and Walt Solek. ISBN: 0-933621-03-5.

Innocents Abroad 1991 (84 minutes).
A warmly amusing look at American tourists on a whirlwind bus tour of Europe. The eclectic soundtrack includes Mozart, Bob Dylan, Sandy Denny, Jonathan Richman, others. ISBN: 0-933621-58-2.

J'ai Été Au Bal (I Went to the Dance) 1989 (84 minutes).
The definitive film on the history of the toe-tapping, foot-stomping music of Southwest French Louisiana. Includes both Cajun and Zydeco greats, featuring Michael Doucet and Beausoleil, Clifton Chenier, Marc and Ann Savoy, D. L. Menard, and many others. ISBN: 0-933779-03.

Julie: Old Time Tales of the Blue Ridge 1991 (11 minutes).
80 year old Julie Lyon, sister of Old Time fiddler Tommy Jarrell, lights up this gem of a film as she tells tales of her Appalachian childhood in North Carolina and her first romance. ISBN: 0-933621-55-8.

The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists (54 minutes).
Meet Gerry Gaxiola, aka The Maestro, an ex-wage slave who gave up everything to make art for art's sake. What happens when a dedicated husband and father quits his job, adopts the persona of the Western Cowboy, takes on the entire art establishment including Christo and Andy Warhol, and refuses to take money for his art? The answer may surprise you, and just might inspire a whole new generation of aspiring Van Goghs. ISBN: 0-933621-45-0.

Marc & Ann 1991 (27 minutes).
Portrait of Marc and Ann Savoy, Cajun musicians who are dedicated to the preservation and continuance of Cajun culture. Marc's an irreverent storyteller and accordion maker, his wife Ann's the mother of four and author of the book Cajun Music: Reflection of a People. ISBN: 0-933621-52-3.

My Old Fiddle: A Visit with Tommy Jarrell in the Blue Ridge 1995 (17 min).
The long-awaited sequel to Sprout Wings and Fly (Les Blank's first film about this homegrown Appalachian fiddler and raconteur) is a gentle tribute to mountain living, a once-thriving American way of life. This film portrait contains more of Tommy's unpretentious folk wisdom and reminiscences. The soundtrack features his singing and fiddling, spiced with a visit to the Smithsonian to test-drive an authentic Stradivarius violin. ISBN: 0-933621-61-2.

Puamana 1991 (38 minutes).
This aloha-filled portrait of Auntie Irmgard Farden Aluli, one of Hawai'i's best loved composers, gently focuses on Hawaiian women's contributions to the family structure, art, music and dance. An intimate glimpse into the real culture of the islands. ISBN: 0-933621-57-4.

Running Around Like A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off 1960 (4 minutes). Black & white.
Les Blank's first student film, starring Les Blank, Gail Blank and Pieter Van Deusen. With hommáge to Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal, the film that inspired Blank to become a filmmaker.

Six Short Films of Les Blank 1960-1985 (90 minutes).
Compilation of six of Blank's shorter films including Dizzy Gillespie, Chicken Real, Cigarette Blues and other earlier works. (For individual descriptions, see titles starred with an asterisk).

Spend It All 1971 (41 minutes).
Rich portrayal of the lives and music of French-speaking Cajuns of Louisiana. Features the Balfa Brothers, Marc Savoy and Nathan Abshire. ISBN: 0-933621-12-4.

Sprout Wings and Fly 1983 (30 minutes).
This touching tribute to Appalachian culture profiles legendary old-time fiddler Tommy Jarrell. His unpretentious folk wisdom interlaces with family scenes and reminiscences, plus plenty of old time music. ISBN: 0-933621- 09-9.

Sworn To the Drum: A Tribute to Francisco Aguabella (35 min)<
Carlos Santana reveres him. Bill Graham honored him. Katharine Dunham wouldn't let him go home for 5 years. Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee are among those who swear by him. His feats of endurance are legendary among his contemporaries. He's a master of both the batá tradition of drumming in the sacred tradition of Santería, Abaqua and Yezá, and secular Latin jazz and salsa styles. He's been called a Rosetta stone of African culture. Discover this enigmatic Cuban drummer who has been so historically influential in the growth of Latin jazz, pop and fusion in the U.S. since the 1950's. ISBN: 0-933621-4-69.

A Well Spent Life 1971 (44 minutes).
Instead of growing bitter, tough times made him sweet. Meet Mance Lipscomb, lifelong husband, sharecropper, and Texas songster, considered by many to be the greatest blues guitarist of all time. ISBN: 0-933621-09-4.

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe 1979 (22 minutes).
Yes, German film director Werner Herzog really does eat his shoe to fulfill a vow made to fellow filmmaker Errol Morris, upholding his belief that people must have the guts to attempt what they dream of. Inspiring. ISBN: 0-933621-31-0.

Yum, Yum, Yum! 1990 (31 minutes).
Les Blank marries his passion for spicy, down home food and his admiration for Cajuns and Creoles to create this mouth-watering, exploration into the cooking and other enthusiasms of French-speaking Louisiana. Features tangy music, Marc Savoy, Paul Prudhomme, and other great cooks. ISBN: 0-933621-53-1.

Ziveli! Medicine for the Heart 1987 (51 minutes).
A portrait of the Serbian-American communities of Chicago and California, highlighting their history in this country, their music, dancing and religion. ISBN: 0-933621-38-8.

Other Films Distributed by Flower Films

Chopi Music of Mozambique and Banguza Timbila (1989) (30 minutes each).
Films by Canada's Ron and Ophera Hallis. A unique look at the Chopi People and their expressive xylophone music and rituals. This most complex of African music has endured despite oppression and war. ISBN: 0-933621-49-3.

Clifton Chenier, the King of Zydeco (1987) (55 minutes)
Executive Director and Producer, Chris Strachwitz. Performances by the King of Zydeco and his Red Hot Louisiana Band.

Dancing Outlaw (1991) (Director's cut: the 30 min. broadcast version plus 30 minutes of prime outtakes)
is a revealing portrait of the nearly extinct "hillbilly" culture and mountain dancer Jesco White's uphill battle against abject poverty, drug abuse, petty crime and mental instability. In his struggle to live up to his father's legacy as the finest mountain dancer in Appalachia, he depends on Jesus, Elvis Presley, and his wife. Produced by Jacob Young for WNPB. American Film Institute's 1993 Bennett Award Winner. ISBN: 0-933621-49-3.

In The Land of the Owl Turds (1987) (30 min.)
By Harrod Blank. Fiction. Roland drives a dada art gallery on wheels and attracts more girls than he knows what to do with. Unfortunately, they seldom stick around. Can it be his chicken imitations? His dead animal skulls? His green body make-up? Can a handsome boy who feels like a Martian find happiness with earth girls? And if not, then with who? Or what? ISBN: 0-933621-37-X.

Music of the Spirits (30 min.)
Stella Nekati-Chiweshe of Zimbabwe is a musical genius, a virtuoso of the mbira-the African "thumb piano" used in the invocation of the ancestral spirits in Shona religious rituals. In this video Stella sings and plays music and speaks of her struggle to learn in a field dominated by men. As Stella says, "The spirit comes and talks to you and does the work." ISBN: 0-933621-54-X.

'N` is a Number (1993) (57 min.)
A film by George Csicsery. A man with no home and no job, Paul Erdos was the most prolific mathematician who ever lived. The wandering mathematician,who died at age 83 in September 1996, spent his life engaged in a struggle to uncover truths hidden by a stubborn adversary-God-in a metaphysical duel described with the same wry humor he applied to politics, death and relationships. Gold Apple Award winner at the 1994 National Educational Film and Video Festival . ISBN: 0-933621-62-0.

Perfumed Nightmare (1978) (91 minutes)
Produced and directed by Kidlat Tahimik. This semi-autobiographical fable by a young Filipino born in 1942 during the Occupation tells the story of his awakening to, and reaction against American cultural colonialism. In his small village, Kidlat dreams of Cape Canaveral and listens to the Voice of America; he's the president of his village's Werner Von Braun fan club. Winner of the International Critics Award and a Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival. ISBN: 0-933621-28-0.

Photo Album (1985) (14 minutes)
"An affectionate remembrance of filmmaker Enrique Oliver's experiences as a young immigrant from Cuba. This sometimes surreal autobiography stars his real family and demonstrates the filmmaker's rare ability to walk the tightrope between satire and parody."-Michael Blowen, Boston Globe. ISBN: 0-933621-44-2.

Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together.(1982)(76 minutes)
A video by Stevenson Palfi. Featuring the best of the last three generations of New Orleans piano players: Isidore "Toots" Washington, Henry "Professor Longhair" Byrd, and Allen R. Toussaint.

Short Films of Pascal Aubier (1986) (40 minutes)
Six short films, in color and black and white. Produced and directed by Pascal Aubier. The late Andrei Tarkovsky has referred to Aubier as "the great hope of French cinema". "Pascal Aubier makes films that are as abnormal as they are smart."-L.A. Weekly. ISBN: 0-933621-39-6.

Talking Feet (87 min., video only).
Mike Seeger, the renowned Old Time folk musician and instructor, produced "Feet", the first documentary filmed about Southern-style solo mountain dancing. Showcases clogging, flatfoot, buck, hoedown, and rural tap dancing. ISBN: 0-933621-50-7. Accompanying instructional book available.

Talking Feet Book (1992) (150 pages, b&w photographs.) The companion to the video. Compiled by Mike Seeger, with style profiles and footlatures by Ruth Pershing. Features many excerpts from interviews with noted regional dancers. ISBN: 1-55643-080-9.

Tree of Life (1973) (30 minutes).
Produced and directed by Bruce "Pacho" Lane. More than an anthropological documentary, this rare, beautifully made record of the Volador ritual as performed by the Totonac Indians of Huehuetla, Puebla, Mexico, brings alive the the mythic dimensions of ritual communal celebration. The Voladores (Flyers) ritual dates back to 500 A.D. The soundtrack consists of flute and drum music, with narration taken from 15th century Nahuatl poetry. ISBN: 0-933621-30-2.

Turumba (94 minutes)
Set in a tiny Philippine village, Kidlat Tahimik's film focuses on one family who traditionally made papier-maché animals to sell during the Turumba festivities. One year, a department store buyer shows up in town and purchases all their stock. When she returns with an order for 500 more (this time with the word "Oktoberfest" painted on them), the family's seasonal occupation becomes year round alienated labor. ISBN: 0-933621-29-9.

Wild Wheels (1992) (Available in the 64 min. Director's cut, or the broadcast version, 56 minutes, containing no objectionable language.)
Harrod Blank's comic and revealing exploration of Art Cars, personally customized automobiles which reflect the individualistic spirit of their drivers. Traveling across the country in his own wildly decorated VW bug, the filmmaker discovers a memorable cast of real-life characters obsessed with transforming their cars into mobile works of art. ISBN: 0-933621-48-5.

Wild Wheels Book Now available! Softcover, 95 pages, over 40 color photographs. Text by Harrod Blank. ISBN: 1-56640-981-0.

Zydeco (1984) (57 minutes).
Produced and directed by Nick Spitzer. A colorful, joyful portrait of some of zydeco's most favorite musicians and their culture as seen in local clubs, a Mardi Gras celebration, and interviews. Featuring Dolon Carriére, Armand Ardoin and Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin. English narration with interviews in Cajun-Creole French. English subtitles. ISBN 0-933621-35-3.

For price information regarding the above videos, contact:

Flower Films
10341 San Pablo Ave.,
El Cerrito, CA 94530
Fax 510-525.1204

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The Flower Films web site was developed as a joint project of Flower Films and the UC Berkeley Library Media Resources Center. Site manager,