Jonas Mekas was not only a writer, poet, artist, and co-founder of Anthology, the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and Film Culture Magazine, but also a filmmaker of great renown. Immediately following his death, we embarked on a multi-part, comprehensive retrospective of his films and videos, both widely celebrated classics and far more obscure works. That retrospective was all set to conclude with a fifth and final chapter in the spring of 2020, which was ultimately postponed due to the pandemic.
Now, as both a long-delayed continuation of the memorial retrospective, and a celebration of Jonas’s centennial (he was born on December 24, 1922), we present the series of screenings that were initially planned in 2020. The earlier chapters of the retrospective were devoted to his diary films, his portraits of people and places, and his films documenting various forms of art or performance. This installment, on the other hand, showcases the remaining films in Jonas’s filmography, which don’t easily fit into any category. The selection encompasses a small subset of films that constitute film- or video-letters to friends, colleagues, or to the public at large, as well as numerous others that demonstrate Jonas’s restless and ever-inventive openness to new cinematic forms.
Perhaps Jonas Mekas’s cinematic magnum opus, “As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty” is the filmmaker’s nearly five-hour film which he describes as “a masterpiece of nothing”. Through the film’s twelve chapters, the artist describes his obsession with nothing—or what’s considered nothing, in cinema, in life. An associative, poetic construction of footage shot between 1970 and 1999, the film finds beauty in the disorder of everyday life.
As I Was Moving Ahead… is widely regarded as a masterpiece of documentary film, and it is currently the fourth highest-rated documentary on Letterboxd. This epic diary film is structured into twelve chapters, each introduced by Mekas’s wry and self-reflexive commentary.
Please note: “As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty” will be screened in two parts with an intermission, Chapters 1-6 (132 minutes) and Chapters 7-12 (152 minutes).
In celebration of the centenary of his birth, the Independent Cinema Office, Lithuanian Cultural Institute and curator Herb Shellenberger present the Jonas Mekas 100! UK Cinema Tour, a series bringing together several of Jonas Mekas’s most-celebrated films alongside lesser-seen works.
“Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania”, 1974
“The 365 Days Project: February 21”, 2007
“Out-Takes from the Life of a Happy Man”, 2013
“Jonas Mekas Shorts Films & Videos 1966-2017”
“As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty”, 2000
Georgia celebrates the centenary of Jonas Mekas with film program “Portraits from the 20th century” and screenings in two cities – Batumi and Kutaisi. The program shows portraits of different people, artists captured by Jonas Mekas and his self-portraits. Fragments and scenes from life, personal journey and memories are creating a visual archive and poetry of Jonas Mekas’ cinema. In the chosen films we see – echoes of time, culture, history, biographical processes and artistic impulses of concrete authors.
Short films program at Kutaisi International Short Film Festival:
“Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol” (1990), “Salvador Dali at Work” (1964) and “Happy Birthday to John” (1996) will be screened on 27 September at 18:00.
“Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (Fluxus)” (2002) and “Happy Birthday to John” (1996) will be screened on 28 September at 16:00.
The program curated by Lika Glurjidze, Nini Shvelidze.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the famous lithuanian filmmaker Jonas Mekas, Kino im Sprengel will screen experimental films and documentaries from and about Jonas Mekas.
We will show his long experimental documentary “As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty” (2000). In a previous screening we shown three short documentaries made by other lithuanian filmmakers about journeys of Jonas Mekas in his native country (in 1976 and 1980), completed by a short documentary of Jonas Mekas himself about his compatriot and Fluxus-artist George Maciunas, “Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (Fluxus)” (1992). This film is shown in 16mm.
Film by Jonas Mekas “Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (Fluxus)” will be screened on 25 November at 20:30.
Film by Jonas Mekas “As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty” will be screened on 26 November at 18:30.
Association Szmery (“Murmurs”) organises a screening of the film “As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty” by Jonas Mekas at the Declinated Improvisation (Improwizacja Deklinowana) Festival. The festival is dedicated to the phenomenon of improvisation, which we want to bring to the Warsaw community with the help of interdisciplinary events. In addition to workshops, live soundtracked film screenings, open stages, urban walks or performances, we also wanted to include in the program an attempt to show improvisation in cinema, from the perspective of directing and camera work. We believe that the film work of Jonas Mekas, a prominent Lithuanian experimental director, embodies the concept of improvisation in cinema and the film named above proves it without a doubt.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the late Jonas Mekas we are happy to present a one-off screening of his landmark 1972 film “Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania”, in partnership with the Hyde Park Picture House.
“Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania” chronicles the return journey to his homeland with his brother Adolfas, after several decades in the United States. Reuniting with siblings, neighbours and their mother, the film pulls the viewer through village life in rural Soviet Lithuania, bookended by scenes from New York in the 1950s and a stop in Vienna on their return journey to the US. Combining music, poetry and reflections, with short fragmentary bursts of filming, Mekas’ films are alive with memory.
Preceded by a video from Mekas’s “365 Days Project” (2007).
“Since 1950, I have never stopped keeping my filmed diary. I walked around with my Bolex reacting to the immediate reality: situations, friends, New York, and seasons. Some days I would shoot 10 shots, some days 10 seconds, some days 10 minutes, or I would shoot nothing… “Walden” contains the film material from 1964 to 1968 edited in chronological order. The soundtrack uses sounds recorded at the same time: voices, subway, street noises, a little Chopin or accordion… “. — Jonas Mekas. The film is shown on 16 mm.
Film program is curated by Pip Chodorov, a dear friend of Jonas and devoted member of “the Gang.” He is founder and director of Re:Voir, a Paris-based company that publishes and distributes DVDs of classic and contemporary experimental cinema.
“The three 16mm films that make up this program are themselves composed of episodes. Peter Rose’s “The man who could not see far enough” (1981, 33 min) is in five parts, a series of tableaux that evoke the act of vision, the limits of perception and the rapture of space. Ken Kobland’s “Vestibule” (1978, 22 min) is in three parts, exploring an urban space and a meditation on time, an intersection of memories and fantasies. Both films are also virtuoso experiments in optical printing, Rose using frames in the frame to describe a multiplicity in space, Kobland slowing and superimposing gestures to describe a palimpsest in time. The third film “New York Scene” (1967, 35 min) is a series of experiments by Takahiko Iimura, who also approached the act of filmmaking in the late 1960s as a self-referential meditation on the camera’s ability to see, and on the space and time of the film image. I am excited to see these three films projected together and complementing each other.” — Pip Chodorov