DTKs June 2019

June 9th

Reminiscences Of A Journey To Lithuania

Jonas Mekas (LI/US 1971-72/ 16mm / 82 mins)


Jonas Mekas, who died aged 96 in January 2019, was one of the most important and influential figures in American underground cinema. A poet with a camera, Mekas said “I don’t really make films; I only keep filming”. He preferred to capture the essence of the moment rather than stage an event. referring to his films as “personal little celebrations and joy … miracles of every day, little moments of paradise … awkward footage that will suddenly sing with an unexpected rapture”.

The film is in three parts, The first part shot during his early years in America, 1950-1953; Mekas and his brother Adolfas, footage of immigrants in Brooklyn, picnicking, dancing, singing; the streets of Williamsburg.

The main section describes the emotional reunion of the Mekas brothers with their 90-year-old mother in the village of Semeniskiai when they returned home to Lithuania for their first visit since the war.

The third part begins with material shot in Elmshorn, Germany,  where the Mekas brothers spent a year in a forced labor camp during the war. Then we are in Vienna where we see scenes with Peter Kubelka, Hermann Nitsch, Annette Michelson, Ken Jacobs. The film ends with the burning of the Vienna fruit market, August 1971.