“Jonas Mekas’s films celebrate life. They rise up against the world’s overwhelming commercialism, attempting instead to revive the pleasures of friendship, a first snowfall or the return of Spring. Mekas’s genius stems from his generously including the viewer in his vision of the world, allowing us to (re)discover, in a simple image, the incredible force and necessity of poetry.” – Yann Beauvais
A year after his passing, the Lithuanian Culture Institute and Close-Up remember the great Jonas Mekas. Born in Lithuania in 1922, Mekas was a poet and hero of the American counter-culture and invented the diary form of filmmaking. This programme presents his first diary film, Walden, alongside the rarely screened epic As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty – both projected from 16mm prints.
Many thanks to Justė Kostikovaitė, (Cultural Attaché, Lithuanian Embassy UK), Pip Chodorov & Jim Stickel (Re:Voir), and Carsten Zimmer (Arsenal Berlin) for making this programme possible.
In partnership with the Lithuanian Culture Institute.
Sunday 19 January, 14h
- As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (Jonas Mekas, 2000, 288 min, 16mm)
"As I Was Moving Ahead... serves not just as a meditation on the nature of cinema, beauty, and time, but also as a monument to the bonds of family and friends. Mekas' diaries have always quivered with the tensions between past and present. This one, created by an artist soon to enter his eighth decade, finds a secret paradise in the rich harvests of a lifetime's memories." – Village Voice
Wednesday 22 January, 19h
- Walden (Jonas Mekas, 1969, 180 min, 16mm)
Jonas Mekas' first completed diary film is an epic portrait of the New York avant-garde art scene of the 60s and a ground-breaking work of personal cinema.