Retrospective: Jonas Mekas

Walden, dir. Jonas Mekas

Announcing the retrospective at the New Horizons IFF in 2022 celebrating 100th anniversary of the artist. 

Jonas Mekas (1922-2019) was a Lithuanian-American filmmaker, poet, activist and precursor of avant-garde cinema of the 1960s. He left his native Lithuania during World War II and in 1949 went to New York, which remained linked to his artistic activity for the remainder of his life. Mekas was one of the founders of Film-Makers' Cooperative, an independent filmmakers’ association engaged in distribution, education and exhibition of avant-garde films. Beginning in the 1950s, he recorded his everyday life on a 16 mm camera. The footage was used to create his monumental and intimate film journals:  WaldenLost Lost Lost or  As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty. Mekas collaborated with counterculture icons like Yoko Ono, Allen Ginsberg and Andy Warhol; according to legend, he was the one who encouraged Warhol to make films. Mekas fought against American censorship and was an advocate of artistic freedom:  In film we need less perfection and more freedom, he said in one interview, and his works, which he kept producing until the last days of his life, confirmed these words.

Selected filmography

1961 Działa wśród drzew / Guns of the Trees

1964 Klatka / The Brig

1972 Reminiscencje z podróży na Litwę / Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania

1976 Lost Lost Lost

2000 Kiedy szedłem przed siebie, widziałem krótkie mgnienia piękna / As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty

2012 Ścinki z życia szczęśliwego człowieka / Out-Takes from the Life of a Happy Man

2019 Requiem 

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