How to Smell a Rose: A Visit with Ricky Leacock in Normandy – 2014
This film documents Les Blank’s year 2000 visit with the legendary co-founder of Direct Cinema, Richard Leacock (1921-2011). At his farm in Normandy, France, Blank, and co-director Gina Leibrecht, recorded conversations with Leacock about his life, his work, and his other passion: cooking! In the early sixties, together with Robert Drew, D.A. Pennebaker, and the Maysles brothers, Leacock changed the way documentary films were made. Before then the standard way of making films involved heavy and cumbersome equipment—standing lights, tripods, cables, etc.—that limited the access the filmmakers had to their subjects. Leacock’s technical and aesthetic innovations were instrumental in creating a new form of documenting events on film by abandoning these impediments, giving birth to America’s version of cinéma vérité. His quest was to create, “the feeling of being there.” While cooking, and taking walks in the French countryside, Leacock shares with Blank the memorable moments of his filmmaking career, and the extraordinary people he met along the way. The film includes clips from Leacock’s films and music by Baguette Quartette.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Telluride Film Festival, New York Film Festival, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Cinema du Reel, Ashland Independent Film Festival, It’s All True, HotDocs, San Francisco International Film Festival, DocAviv, EDOC-Ecuador, Biografilm Festival Bologna.
For more information on this film, contact co-producer Gina Leibrecht.
A film by Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht