In December, the Gene Siskel Film Center joins cinemas and museums across the world in celebration of the life and work of Jonas Mekas (1922 – 2019), one of the most influential voices in cinema, and considered by many to be the “godfather of avant-garde cinema.” The Lithuanian-born filmmaker seemingly always had a camera in his hand. Though his oeuvre spanned seven decades and includes dozens of titles, the eight programs in our Mekas 100 presentation exemplify the heart of what Mekas distinctively captured so often: daily life. Through his lens, Mekas observed the seemingly mundane routines we all keep, and found poetry.
Two simultaneous Jonas Mekas’ film programmes in two main cinematheques of Israel – Tel Aviv Cinemateque and Jerusalem Cinematheque – will be presented for the audience, followed by roundtables and discussions, including local and international interlocutors.
The programmes curated by film critic Dr. Ariel Schweitzer.
Special screenings as a part of the tribute to Jonas Mekas are foreseen at Tel Aviv Cinematheque:
On 7 November, 21:00 before the documentary film “Fragments of Paradise” (by KD Davison) the opening remarks will be introduced by the curator of the tribute Dr. Ariel Schweitzer.
On 11 November, 12:00 before the film “Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania” (by J. Mekas), there will be a discussion on the work of Jonas Mekas, including panelists Sivan Beskin (poet and translator), Tom Shoval (filmmaker), Yael Perlov (producer and editor) and Jennifer Abessira (artist and designer of the program’s poster), moderated by film critic and curator Dr. Ariel Schweitzer .
For a full programme of this tribute at Tel Aviv Cinematheque please visit link here.
To honor Jonas Mekas’ memory, we present a special program, dedicated to the exceptional artist. Apart from the Jonas Mekas Retrospective: Short Films (1966-2002), it includes an audiovisual performance inspired by Mekas’ film “As I was Moving Ahead I saw brief Glimpses of Beauty” (2000), performed by Julius Zubavičius, and the talk “I Make Home Videos Therefore I Live”.
Artist Denisas Kolomyckis, will give a talk about Jonas Mekas, performances and documentation of processes, friends and practices that have followed through the last ten years of Jonas. Talk will be open for questions and possible discussions about Jonas Mekas‘ films together with the presentation of the current practices of Denisas. Artist will share his experience and stories on life in New York and works that have been highly influenced by Mekas.
A legendary figure of the American avant-garde, Jonas Mekas (1922-2019) was at the heart of the Sixties underground film scene as a critic, curator, and filmmaker. Displaced from their native Lithuania as refugees in postwar New York, Mekas and his brother Adolfas soon joined the city’s independent film community, founding Film Culture, Anthology Film Archives, and writing for the Village Voice. They advocated for a New American Cinema, forming The Film-Makers’ Cooperative with figures like Lionel Rogosin and Shirley Clarke, and later focused on abstract works by experimental filmmakers like Stan Brakhage and Gregory Markopoulos.
Film by Jonas Mekas “Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania” (1974) will be screened on 18 November at 19:30. With the participation of Linda Chiu-han Lai at M+ Cinema movie theater.
The film “Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania” (1974) will also be screened on 24 December at 18:15 at the Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre.
Film by Jonas Mekas “Lost Lost Lost” (1976) will be screened on 9 December at 19:00. With the participation of Mimi Wong at M+ Cinema movie theater.
The film “Lost Lost Lost” (1976) will also be screened on 24 December at 14:30 at the Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre.
One-off screening of the film by Jonas Mekas “As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty”. Prior to the showing, a meeting with an expert Dr. Marcin Borchardt, who will present the artist’s work, will take place.
Jonas Mekas, godfather of avant-garde cinema, emigrated to New York in 1949 and over the next 70 years drove the rise of the independent film scene. Filmmaker KD Davison allows Mekas (who died in 2019) to tell much of his own story, as he creates his celebrated diary films and searches for those elusive “fragments of paradise” that cinema can uniquely provide. Mekas championed exhibition and pioneered distribution and preservation institutions. Along the way, he inspired countless artists, among them Martin Scorsese, Andy Warhol, John Lennon and Jim Jarmusch. – Jaie Laplante
The first screening will be followed by a Q&A session with KD Davison, Oona Mekas, and Hollis Melton.
For more information on this premiere in New York please visit link here.
2022 is the centennial of the late Jonas Mekas, poet, filmmaker and artist, who transformed avant garde film in the U.S. Join film writer and essayist Phillip Lopate and author and poet Charity Coleman for a discussion about Mekas’s time in NY and musician/ author Larry Simon and author John Broven (New York City Blues: Postwar Portraits from Harlem to the Village and Beyond) talking about the postwar New York City Blues scene based on interviews and personal stories.
This year EX!T 12 presents “My Own Private Mekas” – a retrospective program of the centennial celebration of Jonas Mekas’s life long work. In EX!T 12 we focus on the films of Jonas Mekas that have rarely been known or screened for general audience. Besides the importance of Jonas Mekas as a diary filmmaker and the godfather of avant-garde cinema, our 9 selected films represent and highlight a different part of Meka’s filmmaking career and his overall oeuvre, which connect and emphasize his relationships with experimental film, contemporary art, home movie, and Hollywood. The program we present this year is a private landscape of Jonas Mekas and his own private Lithuania, or his own private Ithaca.
Films to be screened: “Reminiscences from Germany” (2012); “Notes on an American Film Director at Work” (2005); “Notes on an American Film Director at Work: Martin Scorsese” (2005); “Letters to Friends…From Nowhere #1”; “A Walk” (1990); “Quartet number one” (1991); “Reminiszenzen Aus Deutschland” (2013); “Autobiography of a Man” (2000); A Few Notes on the Factory (1999); In Between (1978); “The Education of Sebastian or Egypt Regained” (1992).
Jonas Mekas (1922 – 2019) – filmmaker, author, and curator – always said that his works were not political. However, often, the exact opposite was the case. His response to the horrors of the 20th century was to turn to the everyday in an artistic way. He sought an aesthetic form for it in his films, diaries and poems and ascribed it with a force of humanization. The eventful history of the past 100 years is reflected in his work.
On the 100th anniversary of Jonas Mekas’ birth, the program curated by Christoph Gnädig, Christian Hiller and Anne König addresses the political dimensions of his oeuvre. Panels with filmmakers, artists and like-minded peers explore Memories, Displacement, Counter-Culture, Cold and New Wars and the Politics of Everyday. In addition to the program in Cinema 1, political video works by Mekas will be installed in Cinema 2. The program will be expanded on the digital platform arsenal 3 with films by Chantal Akerman, Sergei Loznitsa, and Jonas Mekas. There will also be performative readings by Heike Geißler, Eglė Lukšaitė and Goda Palekaitė. Asia Bazdyrieva will from her Ukrainian war diary.