This screening coincides with other Les Blank films showing in New York City at The Academy Theater at Lighthouse International,BAM, Spectacle, Jalopy and the Museum of the Moving Image, who will also be presenting the new DCP restoration of Fitzcarraldo August 3 (with the Rural Route Film Festival).
After the Q&A with Harrod Blank and Pacho Lane we will be screening Stoney Knows How, co-directed by Lane. Pacho Lane worked as interpreter and assistant cameraman to Les Blank on Burden of Dreams, and Les worked as cameraman on Stoney Knows How.
Watch the trailer here.
Burden of Dreams, Directed by Les Blank
95 minutes | Peru | 1982 | 16mm
An extraordinary feature-length documentary about the messianic German director Werner Herzog struggling against desperate odds in the Amazon basin to make his epic feature, Fitzcarraldo. Burden of Dreams was honored with a British Academy Award for Best Documentary of 1982, and many critics consider it Blank’s most awesome film.
“If I abandon this project, I would be a man without dreams, and I never want to live like that. I live my life or I end my life with this project.”
“Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams is one of the most remarkable documentaries ever made about the making of a movie.”
Stoney Knows How, Directed by Alan Govenar and Bruce “Pacho” Lane
29 minutes | USA| 1981 | 16mm
Stoney Knows How is a visit with a master of the oldest art in the world – Tattooing. Disabled by rheumatoid arthritis since the age of four, and forced to use a wheelchair, his growth stunted, Stoney St. Clair (1912 – 1980) joined the circus at 15 as a sword-swallower. A year later, he learned to tattoo, and for the next 50 years, he continued to work as a tattooist traveling with circus and carnivals across the country. As we watch him at work, we see the determination which led Stoney to overcome his handicap to heal himself and others with the magic of symbols. The film ends with a visit by New School master tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy who pays Stoney the highest compliment by asking him for a souvenier tattoo. For more information on the life of Leonard L. “Stoney” St. Clair, see Alan Govenar, Stoney Knows How: Life as a Sideshow Tattoo Artist”, Schiffer Publishing, 2003.
Stoney Knows How is an extended interview with ‘Stoney’ St. Clair, an ebullient little man with the gift of gab of a circus tout and a fund of bizarre stories about tattooing and other matters. One of these is the tale of a Florida snake handler and tattoo artist who was squeezed to death by his own python. His widow made a fortune touring the South with the guilty snake. “After all,” says Stoney, “how often do you get a chance to see a snake that’s squeezed a man to death?” Not often, nor does one often have the opportunity to meet a man like Stoney. The film makers treat him with respect, fondness and appreciation, and he responds in kind.
— Vincent Canby, The New York Times
Harrod Blank is an American documentary filmmaker and art car artist living in Berkeley, California. In 1992 he made the art car film Wild Wheels which was screened repeatedly by PBS. In 1994 he published the accompanying photography book. He is the son of Gail, a ceramic artist, and filmmaker Les Blank.
Bruce Pacho Lane is a director, producer and cameraman and has also worked as a professor of Film and Anthropology at various universities in Mexico and the US. His films were shown and have received awards at several film festivals around the world including Margaret Mead, Ann Arbor, Mexico City and London.