By Guest Contributor Josh Glick, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University in Film Studies and American Studies
[caption id="attachment_2887" align="alignleft" width="180"] Les Blank and Werner Herzog, circa 1982, image from website: Cinephilia and Beyond[/caption]
Les Blank was an adamant listener, a documentarian with an insatiable appetite for the aural texture of American culture. Perhaps most widely recognized for his partnership with Werner Herzog, Blank’s shy demeanor and adventurous spirit made him the perfect silent partner to chronicle the musings and production efforts of the German filmmaker. Whether gazing at Herzog “eat his shoe” as part of a bizarre bet made with then-novice documentarian Errol Morris, or picturing his grandiose effort to lug a steamship across the Peruvian jungle in Burden of Dreams (1982), Blank’s unflinching lens captured Herzog at his most erudite and arrogant.