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Joseph Blessington

Joseph Blessington

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Also Known As: Jeo Blessington Died:
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Highly acclaimed, maverick auteur of off-beat documentaries ranging from "Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers" (1980, a cultural-folk history of the magic herb), to "In Heaven There Is no Beer?" (1984, on Polish polka dancing), to "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" (1980, the result of the eponymous German director's losing a bet with his former assistant, Errol Morris). Blank's best known work is the feature-length "Burden of Dreams" (1982), an extraordinary account of the production of Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo" (1982). His career has been the subject of major retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1979), the National Film Theatre in London (1982) and the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris (1986). In 1990 the American Film Institute honored Blank with the Maya Deren award for outstanding lifetime achievement by an independent filmmaker. Combining obsessions with music and food, Blank gives his movies a taste and feel that few commercial filmmakers can match. He's not above cooking up a mess of red beans and rice behind the screen to enhance the experience. He reminds us that movies can be used to celebrate life.

Highly acclaimed, maverick auteur of off-beat documentaries ranging from "Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers" (1980, a cultural-folk history of the magic herb), to "In Heaven There Is no Beer?" (1984, on Polish polka dancing), to "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" (1980, the result of the eponymous German director's losing a bet with his former assistant, Errol Morris).

Blank's best known work is the feature-length "Burden of Dreams" (1982), an extraordinary account of the production of Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo" (1982). His career has been the subject of major retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1979), the National Film Theatre in London (1982) and the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris (1986). In 1990 the American Film Institute honored Blank with the Maya Deren award for outstanding lifetime achievement by an independent filmmaker.

Combining obsessions with music and food, Blank gives his movies a taste and feel that few commercial filmmakers can match. He's not above cooking up a mess of red beans and rice behind the screen to enhance the experience. He reminds us that movies can be used to celebrate life.

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