Cinema/Chicago News

#56Films to Stream: The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1970)

Published: May 15, 2020  |  Filed under: 56 Films

Given the current recommendation to stay home and practice social distancing, we at the Chicago International Film Festival are looking at past selections from each year of the Festival that you can stream now from home. Stream our past selections as we look forward to the 56th Chicago International Film Festival this October 14-25, 2020. Find the full 56 Films for 56 Years selections here.

Today’s #56Films entry is Les Blank’s portrait of the legendary blues singer Lightnin’ Hopkins and his rural Texas community which screened at the 6th Chicago International FIlm Festival in 1970.

The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins

Director: Les Blank
6th Chicago International Film Festival

Les Blank, one of cinema’s greatest poets, joyfully chronicled the American everyday through exhilaratingly free-form documentary cinema. The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins, a sublime marriage of music, performance, oral history, and film, finds Blank in rare form as he pieces together an ethnographic portrait of the legendary blues singer and his rural Texas community. The film lets the blues speak for itself anywhere and everywhere—at dances, backyard barbeques, in living rooms, and on pastoral farmland. Blank’s keen observational eye and unparalleled camerawork seems to effortlessly stumble across poetic details and visual revelations. The music does the talking, and Blank is there to listen and watch. — Sam Flancher, Programmer

Streaming Details:
The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins is streaming now on The Criterion Channel.

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