Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, January 12: HOW TO SMELL A ROSE: A VISIT WITH RICKY LEACOCK IN NORMANDY
Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht’s portrait of the pioneering documentary filmmaker made its debut at Telluride in 2014. Its extensive fest circuit included the New York Film Festival, IDFA, Hot Docs, It’s All True, Thessaloniki Doc, Cinema du Reel, San Francisco, DocAviv, Biografilm, and New Zealand, among others.
Blank’s last film documents a freeflowing meeting in 2000 with one of the originators of direct cinema, which doubles as both a biography and a documentary history lesson. Completed by Blank’s longtime creative partner and editor Leibrecht after his death in 2013, their portrait also serves as a joyful tribute to Leacock, who died in 2011, and who was something of a mentor to Blank. In the film, Leacock shares personal memories, demonstrates his French cookery, and reflects on his impressive body of work, illustrated through still captivating clips from classic nonfiction that reaches back to Robert Flaherty’s LOUISIANA STORY, which he shot in 1948. Throughout, Blank, following the lead of Leacock, provides the viewer with the wondrous, truthful feeling of “being there,” making for a buoyant appreciation of life and art.