Notes on “Always for Pleasure”

Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:

blank

This Les Blank documentary, focused on the Mardi Gras traditions of New Orleans, is a zesty and clamorous memento mori, but it’s also a vision of America (and life) that in its breadth, color, and immediacy is comparable to Altman’s “Nashville.” It has none of Altman’s wryness, though. Blank’s calling cards are his positivity, his eagerness to engage, and his openness. In fact, he’s so open that sometimes you worry his movies will dissipate as you’re watching them — that they’ll turn into blurs of faces and moments, meaningless beyond what they communicate as individual parts. But when Blank is really on, as he is here, his pictures are held together by a sensibility and a musical, free-form sense of rhythm that raises them above the level of mere observation and turns them into something akin to materialized sense memories. Nothing in “Always for Pleasure” feels out of place or arbitrary. Nothing feels thought out either. Blank’s New Orleans is an ever-surging cultural estuary. You can only understand by immersing yourself in it.

Related

  • The Criterion Collection recently released a box-set of Blank’s work, called, in reference to this film, “Always for Pleasure.” I can’t recommend it enough. Several of Blank’s films are also available to stream via Hulu Plus.

About Fabrizio del Wrongo

Recovering liberal arts major. Unrepentant movie nut. Aspiring boozehound.
This entry was posted in Movies, Music and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Notes on “Always for Pleasure”

  1. peterike2 says:

    I have never shared the enthusiasm for New Orleans in general and Mardi Gras in particular. It’s too coarse, too third-world, too non-European. It just does nothing for me and doesn’t push any of my cultural buttons. But I do sort of like the American-ness of it and the regionalism, which is something I respect even when I don’t admire it. I’m glad it’s there, but they can keep it.

    BTW, there’s a clip on the Criterion web page. Shows you how to properly eat a crayfish.

    http://www.criterion.com/films/28658-les-blank-always-for-pleasure

    Like

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