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July 10, 2015

A Poem is a Naked Person

The re-release of Les Blank’s “lost” 1974 documentary about musician Leon Russell really blew me away, so a wrote a piece about the film for Talkhouse. Here’s an excerpt:

While I watched “A Poem…,” I kept thinking, what the hell has happened to documentary filmmaking in the past forty years? It seems we’ve become obsessed with cleanliness, with clarity, with imposing a controlled narrative structure on our films. And while there are artists today who are experimenting with documentary form, we should all be inspired by the freedom, exuberance and sheer weirdness that this film embodies. It is an experiential documentary. It doesn’t have a “message,” but the experience of seeing it (especially in a theater) is going to change you. Isn’t that enough?


Read the full piece here. The film is currently in limited release in theaters across the US, catch it if you can on the big screen. Criterion is doing a home video release later this year as well.