This footage of a NOLA Jazz funeral is a grimly appropriate way to tip the sombrero and say adios to Les Blank, one of the most gifted documentary filmmakers of the 20th century (if not the most). He died yesterday.
Beautifully shot by Michael Glawogger (director of A Workingman’s Death — which is incredible). But such an uncomfortable, sad (and sometimes hilarious) experience. I was squirming in my seat in lots of parts.
It straddles the space between documentary and film in a really interesting way. There are a lot of parts where the action has clearly been staged by the director, but obviously all the participants are real and are sharing their lives. I imagine Seidl came into situations, observed the people he was going to shoot and then distilled what he saw was essential in each scene he came across. Whether its through staging, triggering conversations, or showing physical affection. Its a really different and fascinating approach.
This was a pretty wild ride, the less said the better - even though the trailer gives a bit away. Shows the power of a riveting, unique story. As someone said, “If you knew an individual’s story, a person you cared about, it would be impossible to have prejudice towards them.”