Directors / Screenplay / Cinematography / Sound / Editors: Les Blank & Maureen Gosling
Production Co.: Flower Films
Music: 'Bois Sec' Ardoin & Canray Fontenot
'Bois Sec' Ardoin
Canray Fontenot
Clifton Chenier
and their families
N.B. technical credits for many of Les Blank’s films are deliberately vague: Les is usually cited as the director of this film and was probably the cameraman; Maureen Gosling is credited as editor on several other of his films and presumably worked in that capacity on this one. The important thing, however, is that her contribution was considered by Blank important enough to warrant the joint ‘a film by’ credit.
37 minutes
16 mm
English & Cajun
In Dry Wood the featured music is that of 'Bois Sec' ('Dry Wood') Ardoin, his sons and Canray Fontenot. Theirs is an older, rural style of Cajun music, which, in the film, weaves together incidents in the lives of the Fontenot and Ardoin families. The film's highlights include a rollicking country Mardi Gras, work in the rice fields, a 'Mens Only' supper, and a hog-butchering party that takes the hog from kill to sausage. Like other Blank films, it expresses respect for living life "simply, lovingly, openly and slowly, without the pressures and dehumanization of excessive materialism and comfort." (Les Blank)
- Michael Goodwin, City Magazine
A communal feast is as crucial to any of Blank's films as the rendition of 'Shall We Gather at the River' is to a John Ford western... Dry Wood is an almost continual round of barbecues, expositions on sausage making, and demonstrations of gumbo preparation where Blank gets so close to the action that he's almost using the lens to stir the pot. [This is a] film to make your mouth water.
- J. Hoberman, American Film, 12/80
When I was younger I thought it was a great thing to be on earth and be alive, because you knew the meaning of every day what it meant... When it was a holiday, we used to get together at my grandmother's house... She'd cook in a big washpot outside under the trees... We'd hang some meat in front of the fireplace and we'd just sit down and talk, talk about life. But now we don't have time to do that no more... Now life is too fast... You don't enjoy because everybody want to go further down... As the children grow up there's no jobs, nothin' for them to do... They're leavin' one by one.
- Eva Fontenot