Les Blank Interview From 1982 on Documentary ‘Burden of Dreams,’ Chronicling Herzog’s Chaotic ‘Fitzcarraldo’

Les Blank Interview From 1982 on Documentary 'Burden of Dreams,' Chronicling Herzog's Chaotic 'Fitzcarraldo'

To celebrate the life of Les Blank I am sharing this
interview I did with him at the 1982 Toronto Film Festival — the very first
Toronto Fest that I ever attended.

TORONTO – In the lobby of the Bloor Theater, an unassuming
fellow stands behind a small counter. Bearded and robust, looking much like a
slimmed-down Santa Claus, he personally displays his wares: T-shirts emblazoned
with the titles of films directed by Les Blank.

Inside the theater itself, a Blank film is currently
unspooling. On the screen, a man rambles on about his obsessions. He’s been in
the Peruvian jungle for far too long, trying to complete his work. He’s now
near the end of his rope. His financial backers are pulling out. His crew is
discontent, almost mutinous. Even the elements are against him.

And then there’s the jungle. Yes, the jungle.

“I see it as full of obscenity,” he says, the hysteria
barely repressed. “Nature here is base and vile. The birds. I don’t think they
sing. They just screech in pain…

“I shouldn’t make movies anymore. I should go to a lunatic
asylum.”

The Toronto Film Festival audience responds to his
monologues with smatterings of giggles, occasional gales of laughter. But some
people are shifting nervously in their seats. A few actually get up and leave.

Read the rest of this interview here.

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