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Looking for name of short film of Mexican woman's coffee routine, c '70s
August 17, 2014 3:54 PM   Subscribe

This charming short film, maybe 15-20 minutes, is about a Mexican woman's morning routine of roasting her own coffee beans in frying pan, filtering coffee through a linen handkerchief, then washing the linen and hanging on clothesline to dry. I thought it was by Les Blank, but can find no listing for it. I also searched Werner Herzog, but couldn't find it. Film came out of the Bay Area food renaissance of the '70s, I believe. Think I saw it in '80s. Anyone seen it, can give me a clue to provenance? TIA.
posted by Berry to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sounds very similar to a scene from a Brazilian film from the seventies whose name escapes me...
posted by mzurer at 4:44 PM on August 17


The film I'm thinking of is "Eles nao usam blacktie" but I'm not pretty sure that's not it.
posted by mzurer at 6:34 PM on August 17


Do you have any more information about it? It really does sound like a Les Blank film (moreso than Herzog or another contemporary like Errol Morris) but it doesn't even appear to be a scene from one of his films. Is the film in color? English language? Are we 100% certain she was Mexican or of other hispanic origin? Did you see it in a theatre and if so, do you remember where and what the occasion was?

Sorry, I'm now obsessing over finding this film, as I can't believe how elusive it seems to be despite an hour of researching internet archives and related sources. I worry that it may be a film that did not survive due to oversight by preservationists.
posted by nightrecordings at 7:52 PM on August 17


Try asking the Frameworks email list - lots of people who saw films in the Bay Area in the '70s and '80s on there, and lots of film archivists too.

I agree with nightrecordings - it would help narrow down possibilities to know more about where you saw it and what the occasion was. Also, was the morning routine and the coffee prep the whole film, or just part of it?
posted by bubukaba at 11:52 PM on August 17


The reason I thought it was a Les Blank film was that I thought I saw it on a show of Les Blank shorts, including the one in which Herzog eats his shoe, and his garlic film. The film was in color, and I believe there was no vocal soundtrack. The woman, probably in her 50s, was Hispanic, shouldn't have said Mexican, don't know. I assumed it was shot in a barrio situation, thought it was US. The entire film was the coffee-making routine. I have told coffee-lover friends about this film many times over the years.

I'm pretty sure I saw the film in the late '70s, though can't remember if it was in Bay Area or New York. I am from New York. I visited the Bay Area a lot during late '70s, '80s, and attended the second Gilroy Garlic Festival, which made me a garlic convert and led me to Les Blank and his films (and garlic cookbook!). I was already a Herzog fan. I do think there's a connection with Blank and this film, but I can't find anything. Thanks you guys for spending time researching. Hope these clarifications help.
posted by Berry at 4:01 PM on August 18


At this point, because I have been so unsuccessful in finding any information even resembling this film and because I always want to help out a fellow film lover, I'm going to recommend emailing Les Blank's son Harrod Blank (excentrix@aol.com). It really does sound like Les Blank and even if it's not, there's a good chance he's going to be familiar enough with the Bay Area filmmakers/scene to possibly point you in the right direction. This is definitely a question for a specialist. Good luck, and please update us here if you find out what it is!!
posted by nightrecordings at 3:54 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Excellent suggestion, nightrecordings. I will do that and post on results. Thanks!
posted by Berry at 1:47 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Regret to say that I did not receive an answer from Harrold Blank at excentric@aol.com, and my research has reached a dead-end re this short film on coffee making. If anyone has feedback on provenance, love to hear it. Thank you all for your help, including email for Harrold...
posted by Berry at 5:34 PM on September 14


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