Norteña: Two Short Films by Les Blank

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Norteña: Two Short Films by Les Blank

Whatever his focus, filmmaker Les Blank delved deeply into his subject’s soul. In his intimate portraits of American musicians, he gave us memorably close views of New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations, Midwestern polka gatherings, Appalachian fiddle players, and the Texas bordertowns where Norteña music and culture thrives.

Chulas Fronteras

A spirited and humane introduction to Norteña, a fusion of traditional Mexican harmonies and German dancehall rhythms, with a little something extra. Blank links the music’s spirit and vitality to the strong family bonds of Tejanos. The plight of migrant workers adds a sobering backbeat to this joyous film, which has a rich soundtrack of songs about unrequited love and migration, featuring Flaco Jiménez, Lydia Mendoza, Los Alegres de Terán, and others. 4K restoration.

Les Blank. 1976. 60 m. NR. US. English/Spanish with subtitles. Argot Pictures.


Del Mero Corazon

A lyrical journey through the heart of Chicano culture as reflected in the love songs of the Norteña music tradition. Performers include Little Joe & La Familia, Leo Garza, Chavela Ortiz, Andres Berlanga, Ricardo Mejia, Conjunto Tamaulipas, and Chavela y Brown Express. 4K restoration.

Les Blank/Maureen Gosling. 1979. 29 m. NR. US. English. Argot Pictures.

This film is part of the Sounds of Summer 2019: Music Films, Old and New series.

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