David M. Brasseaux has released a 31-minute documentary film, Looking for Trouble.  It is about violence in Cajun communities in the first half of the twentieth century.  Two areas come in for special attention:  Marais Bouleur (a “marais” is a swamp) and Pointe Noire (Black Point), in Acadia Parish.  Cajuns are often seen as exuberant and happy-go-lucky, but, like everyone else, they sometimes have a dark side.  This is the first time I’ve seen this issue discussed anywhere.  It’s worth watching and it’s free to view.

A champion of life at the margins and other oddities, Les Blank died on Monday, April 8, 2013.  Besides his films on garlic, beer and gap-toothed women, Blank made films about south Louisiana folklife.  His film Dry Wood is available online.  Blank attended Tulane University in New Orleans, perhaps where he learned about Cajun and Creole music.  In his later years he resided in California.  I spoke to him at the library convention booth where he was selling his films.  When I said I enjoyed his films, he asked “Which ones?”

Dry Wood (1973) is about Creole music and includes Alphonse “Bois Sec” (“Dry Wood”) Ardoin and Canray Fontenot.  J’ai Été Au Bal / I Went to the Dance (1989) covers the history of Cajun, Creole and zydeco music.  (Soundtrack CDs  volume 1 and volume 2 with listening online!) With involvement by Chris Strachwitz, founder of Arhoolie Records.   Marc and Ann Savoy are the subjects of Marc & Ann (1991).  Cajuns in general are the subject of Spend It All (1971) with Nathan Abshire and the Balfa Brothers.   Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking (1990) is about cooking.

An author named Father Ron has posted a short article on the WWOZ-FM web site on Cajun and zydeco music used in movies.  He lists the 1987 The Big Easy, known locally for Dennis Quaid’s bizarre New Orleans crossed with Cajun accent.   Of course Glen Pitre’s Belizaire the Cajun is on the list.   See what else you can thank of!

Raised in Lafayette, La, filmmaker Allen Clements now lives in Pennsylvania.  Clements wants to make a film about Cajuns from the Cajun perspective.  The title is “We Are Cajun” and it’s filming in and around Acadiana.  He’s asking Cajuns what it means to be a Cajun and filming their responses.  Here’s a story from KATC-TV in Lafayette with mostly stock footage and a telephone interview with Clements.   And he’s using Kickstarter to raise funds for production, with a 5 minute film clip.   The deadline to contribute is 8:24 am CT Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.   Clements says he’ll hire Cajuns to make the film.  There is a web site at http://wearecajun.com, but it’s redirecting back to the Kickstarter site.  Contribution levels start at US$1 and go to US$6500, with many Merci gifts along the way.   No funds go to the producer if the goal of $30,000 is not met, so contribute now!

A film about Gulf Coast music produced by the Lafayette, LA-based Acadiana Center for the Arts premieres Nov. 25 at 7:30 pm and 27 at 4:30 pm, 2011 at the Center.  It includes D. L. Menard and Jeffrey Broussard as well as Sonny Landreth, Allen Toussaint with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Irma Thomas.  Each showing is preceded by a reception, and a dance follows.  Telephone 337-255-5689 for more information.

Well, that’s the plotline of a new film, Zombex.  The cast includes Malcom McDowell, Corey Feldman, and Kinky Friedman!  Unfortunately, the main character’s name is “Charlie Thibideaux.” Alas, can’t anyone spell Thibodeaux?  This site includes an interview and two photos.  Heels in the swamp?  Oh, yeah – no.  At least it should be an excuse to bring zydeco music to a larger public.  That is, if they use real zydeco.  I’m keeping an open mind.

Film directory, writer and producer Glen Pitre will appear on the Lâche Pas show on WWOZ-FM this Sunday, April 3rd.  The show starts at noon Central time (U.S.) and runs for two hours.  Pitre is the director of Belizaire the Cajun, the 1986 independent film about a Cajun traiteur (healer) and his struggle against an Anglo vigilante force.  The film stars Armand Assante as Belizaire, and includes Gail Youngs, and Robert Duval.

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