I Went to the Dance

Such an infectious music film on Louisiana French and Zydeco music that it's hard to stay seated..it is a feast...irresistable...a must-see.


I Went to the Dance

I Went to the Dance (originally released in 1989 with the French title J'ai Été au Bal) is a glorious paean to Cajun and Zydeco music featuring exhilarating performances by the most important and influential artists of the genre: Clifton Chenier, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Marc & Ann Savoy, D.L. Menard, Rockin’ Sidney, Wayne Toups, Queen Ida and many more.

Blank had spent years in Southern Louisiana, starting in the early 1970s when he made a trio of shorter portraits of the culture starting with 1971's
Spend It All (a favorite of Blank's subsequent subject Werner Herzog) followed by Dry Wood and Hot Pepper, the latter his documentary on Clifton Chenier. I Went to the Dance is Blank and Strachwitz's great celebration of the whole musical culture, chock full of interviews with artists which were continuing the tradition well into the nineteen-nineties and beyond, with a special focus on BeauSoleil who are about to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Scanned and restored from the original 16mm camera and magnetic ¼" tape elements by Anthony Matt and Harrod Blank, following their beautiful restorations of Blank's rediscovered Leon Russell documentary
A Poem Is a Naked Person (1972-74/2015), Chulas Fronteras (1976) and its companion film Del Mero Corazon (1979), I Went to the Dance has never looked—and sounded—this celebratory.

With its international premiere in January of 1990 in Sweden at the Göteborg Film Festival and a month later premiering at Berlin,
I Went to the Dance originally opened that Spring in New York City at the Angelika as a midnight film, released by Chris Strachwitz’s own Brazos Films. This is its first theatrical run in close to 35 years.

Brimming with tender affection for its subjects, the vitality of their marvelous music, and a generosity of spirit,
I Went to the Dance is a stunning tribute to the music and the culture of Southwest Louisiana, and this restoration honors its legacy and the legacy of American treasures Les Blank and Chris Strachwitz.

I Went to the Dance is such an INFECTIOUS music film on Louisiana French and Zydeco music that IT’S HARD TO STAY SEATED… It is a FEAST of folkloric scholarship human history regional color and IRRESISTIBLE music an inspiring ‘MUST-SEE’ for anyone interested in American folkways or music.” —Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle

“An EXUBERANT tribute to the continuing vitality of Louisiana’s Cajun and zydeco music. [Illuminated by] passion, humor and common sense. Guaranteed to send everyone out of the theatre feeling good and probably better!” —Vincent Canby, The New York Times
Not Rated
Documentary, Music, Culture Vulture
Les Blank, Chris Strachwitz, Maureen Gosling
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