contemporary films

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Always for Pleasure |
The Blues According to Lightnin' Hopkins
Chicago Blues

Chicken Real |
Chulas Fronteras |
Del Mero Corazon
Dry Wood
God Respects Us When We Work But Loves Us When We Dance
Hot Pepper
Ian Dury in Concert
Pete Docherty and the Libertines

Reggae |
Remember a Day
The Sun's Gonna Shine |
Tonite Let's All Make Love in London
A Well Spent Life

( 1978. colour) Director: Les Blank
Always for Pleasure is a look at Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the myriad musical traditions supporting the annual celebrations. The ritual traditions of the jazz funeral or blacks masquerading as 'Indians' are some of the rich offerings of the street pageantry that show the cultural history of the city. The film captures the intense and intricate social competition symbolised by the dance. Among those appearing in the film are the Wild Tchoupitoulas, Professor Longhair and Kid Thomas Valentine.

( 1969, colour) Director: Les Blank with Skip Gerson
In his own words and his 'own' music, Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins reveals the inspiration for his blues.
He sings, jives and ponders. He boogies at an outdoor barbecue and a black rodeo and takes us with him on a visit to his boyhood home of Centerville in Texas. The film reaches past the impish bluesman into the Blues, into the red-clay Texas, into hard times, into blackness and the senses.

(1970, Colour) Director: Harley Cokliss
This film relates the tale of how Country Blues of the rural South of America moved North, mainly to Chicago. Terrific performances by the likes of Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and many others.

( 1971, colour) Director: Les Blank
An industrial short made for the world's second largest poultry producer, this film incorporates some subversive satire in its promotion of the modern assembly-line approach to mass-manufactured food. The music was recorded in North Carolina - by a group playng all the chicken songs they knew!

( 1976, colour ) Director: Les Blank
A magnificent introduction to the most exciting Nortena musicians working today: Los Algres de Teran, Lydia Mendosa, Flaco Jimenez and others. The Mexican- Americans live on the Texan side of the border. To the south lies Mexico and poverty; to the north is America, hostility and little hope of deliverence. They belong to neither area and migrate from state to state with the seasons for work in the fields. Blank makes clear the role that the Chicago music has in redeeming their lives by giving utterance to a collective pain. This music and the spirit of the people is seen embodied in their strong familiy life and sheer enjoyment of domestic rituals.

( 1979, colour ) Director: Les Blank
This is a lyrical journey through the heart of Chicago culture, as reflected in the love songs of the Tex-Mex Nortena music tradition, Love songs are the poetry of daily life - a poetry of passion and death, hurt and humour, pleasures and torn desire. In the film these songs travel from intimate family gatherings to community dance halls; they are passed along changed into new songs but always sung from the heart. Artists appearing include Leo Arza, Chavela Ortiz, Brown Express, Little Joe and la Familia.

( 1973, colour ) Director: Les Blank with Skip Gerson
This is the first part of a two-part documentary on the life and music of the French-speaking blacks in south-west Louisiana's Cajun country. Dry Wood features the music of 'Bois Sec' Ardoin, his sons and Canray Fontenot. Theirs is an older, rural style of Cajun music which, in the film, weaves together incidents in the lives of the Fontenot and Ardoin families. The highlights include a rollicking country Mardi Gras, work in the rice fields, a 'Men Only' supper and a hog-butchering party that takes the hog from kill to sausage.

(1967-68, Colour ) Director: Les Blank.
A time-capsule report on a specific high point of the hippie counterculture movement of the Sixties, seen at the Los Angles 1967 Easter Sunday 'Love-In'. It is a finely shot panaroama of the action as well as the more meditative moments.

( 1973, colour ) Director: Les Bank
Hot Pepper is the second part of Blank's Cajun documentary and plunges the viewer deep into the music of Clifton Chenier andits sources in rural and urban Louisiana. The great French accordionist mixes rock and blues in his unique version of 'Zydeco' music , a pulsating combination of Cajun French with African undertones. Clifton belts it out in sweaty music halls and the film winds his music through the bayous and byways of the countryside and into the streets and homes of his people.

Ian Dury in Concert
Produced and Directed by Marek Pytel
Exclusive footage of Ian Dury and the Blockheads in concert in London, 1980, as part of the Do it Yourself tour.

Exclusive footage, live and in the studio, of Pete Docherty and the Libertines, prior to the band's sensational implosion.

REGGAE (1970, colour) Directed by: Horace Ové
Reggae, music of the awakening soul of black people, originated in Africa, was reborn in Jamaica from whence it came to Britain and expresses the feelings and hopes of a dispossessed people who emerged from slavery not so very long ago. The film traces the ancestry of the music, at the same time it places the black West Indian within his social context - exploited at home in the West Indies, unwanted in England.
The film centres around the Wembley Reggae Festival, featuring the Pyramids, Pioneers, Black Faith, Millie, Maytals, Desmond Dekker and Mike Raven.

REMEMBER A DAY (UK, 2000). Director: Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon.
Remember a Day is a film narrating the acid excesses of a late Sixties rock star - turned -recluse Roger Bannerman, a Daa man 'going far further than you ever could imagine', a character not unlike Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett. Despite having effectively retired, Bannerman is being stalked by an unhinged fan who's determined to 're-launch' Roger no matter what it takes, no matter how many laws are broken... Laced with black humor , drugs, psychedelic imagery, groupie sex and featuring a stunning soundtrack - that includes works by the Pink Floyd, Captain Beefheart and The Sex Pistols. Remember a Day is an early seventies period piece shot by the people who's story it essentially is.

SPEND IT ALL ( 1971, colour) Director: Les Blank with Skip Gerson
A perceptive, lusty and lyrical documentary of some true American originals, the Cajuns of South-west Louisiana, who still retain the language, camaraderie and old world spirit of their French-speaking Acadian ancestors. The film captures the intense bravado and vitality of their lives

THE SUN'S GONNA SHINE ( 1969, colour)
A further tribute to Lightnin' Hopkins.

Swinging London in all its lurid glory - a rock concerto for film.


A WELL SPENT LIFE (1970, colour) Director: Les Blank
Les Bank Blank described the 75-year-old black philosopher-songster Mance Lipscomb, as 'the closets thing to a Christ figure I have ever seen'. The film looks into the thoughts and music of the man and also provides a revealing glimpse of a black farming community.

Our music collection covers many genres - jazz, Russian opera and ballet, rock music, folk music, calypso and blues. In rock music we have material on Jimi Hendrix, The Pink Floyd, The Incredible String Band, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Nico, Ravi Shankar...and more. We have jazz footage from the first half of the 20th century, and more recent jazz artists like: Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Dick Gregory, J B Hutto, Johnnie Lewis, Garry David, Flo Kennedy, Frederick Douglass-Kirkpatrick and Larry Johnson. There is footage too of classical music, and bits and pieces of folk music, Pete Seeger among them.



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