Designed by artist Jim Franklin, whose work appears in a major sequence early on in the film, the poster for “A Poem is a Naked Person” features a psychedelic color palette that is not only evocative of the era from which the film emerged, but it also, thanks to films such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice,” highlights the film’s ability to transcend specific cultural moments.
More than forty years after Les Blank completed “A Poem is a Naked Person,” a project he was hired by musician Leon Russell to make, a newly restored version of the film received a long overdue world premiere at SXSW earlier this week.
Blank’s son, Harrod, who spearheaded the film’s restoration as well as its long overdue upcoming theatrical release following his father’s passing in 2013, took to the stage prior to the screening of the film in order to recognize certain individuals who make appearances throughout the film: namely, artist Jim Franklin (who designed the poster seen above), filmmaker Maureen Gosling (who worked on the film crew) and, most importantly, the now 72-year-old Russell.
Shot over a two-year-period, “A Poem is a Naked Person” captures Russell, along with his posse of musical collaborators and artist friends, as they live, record and perform in rural Oklahoma.
Sporting a crisp cowboy hat over his trademark mane and a beard that long ago turned white, Russell held court from his seat in the center of the room, and at the film’s end, the audience gave the legendary musician a standing ovation.
“A Poem is a Naked Person” will be released in theaters by Janus Films this summer.