A Poem is a Naked Person

Director Les Blank
United States / 90 min. / 1974 / English


A delightful Verité gem on the mini-universe of Leon Russell, which flits between live footage and the Oklahoma landscape, 1974. There are dances and totems, rivers and Willie Nelson, a snake wolfing down a chick, Mama Cass letting rip, full moon and a building in ruins. And Russell, in full boogie. One of Blank’s great rockumentaries.

 

One of Les Blank’s great rockumentaries, unreleased until today. This delightful Verité gem on the mini-universe of Leon Russell flits between live footage and the fluvial Oklahoma landscape, 1974. There are dances and totems, loadsa rivers and loadsa Willie Nelson, a snake wolfing down a chick, Mama Cass letting rip with “I’ll take you there”, full moon and a building in ruins. And fishing for catfish. There are also village busybodies, floating houses, Jim Franklin (the surrealist aritst) painting a swimming pool and hunting scorpions, Native Americans partying, and a southern gent chewing and chowing on a glass. From the midst of all this, emerges Russell, the link that connects each of the customary vignettes, boogying on down and getting it on with his audience (and vice versa) We see him in the studio and on stage, covering Hank Williams and teaming up with George Jones, in a philosophical debate with Eric Andersen and pounding the ivories at a wedding. And sharing poignant wisdom: “So then there's the balance between paranoia and trust that gets the illusion going, you know”. Leon Russell as you’ve never seen him, in his natural habitat.

A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON - Official Film Trailer

Never before released in theaters, this long-unseen documentary about singer-songwriter Leon Russell was filmed by Bay Area legend Les Blank between 1972 and 1974. An ineffable mix of unbridled joy and vérité realism, Blank's film takes us into the world of Russell and his fellow artists in and around his recording studio in northeast Oklahoma, combining intimate, off-the-cuff moments with mesmerizing scenes of Russell and his band performing live.

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Details
Subtitles
VOSE


Showing format

Participation
in festivals
DocHouse 2016 DokuFest 2016 In-Edit 2016 Krakow Film Festival 2016 Indie Lisboa 2016 Docaviv 2016 Play-Doc 2016 Bozar Cinema Days 2016 Göteborg Film Festival 2016 VIENNALE 2015 BFI Southbank 2015 Festival International de Cine Documental 2015 Filme im Schloss 2015 NZIFF 2015 MIFF 2015 IDFA 2015 - European Premiere SXSW 2015 - World & US Premiere

Leadings
Leon Russell, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Jim Franklin, Eric Anderson, David Briggs, Rev. Patrick Henderson, Ambrose Campbell, Don Preston, Malissa Bates

Editor(s)
Les Blank

Camera
Les Blank

Producer
Denny Cordell, Leon Russell, Les Blank Films

Film company

Film distributor

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