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Monthly Screenings

Jonas Mekas: Poet of Avant-Garde Cinema

A tribute to the centenary of his birth

Poet, film critic (in Film Culture magazine, which he was one of the founders of, but also in other important newspapers and magazines such as Village Voice or Film Comment), archivist (in the Anthology Film Archives which he founded and managed until his last day), and of course a film director. His diverse works are inherent in the freedom, audaciousness, and non-conformism. These traits were already apparent as a teenager under the Nazi occupation and led him to flee Lithuania in 1944 together with his brother Adolfas, and to settle in the United States after a difficult period in a labor camp in Germany, as well as, in displaced persons camps throughout Europe after the War.

Childhood in the small village of Semeniskiai in Lithuania, and especially the proximity to nature, left a deep impression on Mekas that would be reflected throughout his life in his written work, mainly in poetry, and to a certain extent in his films, which in their essence are nourished by a poetic, open, free spirit, more than by prosaic narrative patterns. the Lithuanian forest will be replaced by the New York urban forest that Mekas discovered in the early 1950s, and where he never stopped walking and filming throughout his life.

The program, showcasing of eight films, offers only a slight, but representative part of the director's work and turns the gaze to the focal strands of his life.

Dr. Ariel Schweitzer, curator of the tribute to Jonas Mekas.

 

The program was organized on the initiative and with the support of the Lithuanian Cultural Institute in Israel.

The program is part of the international project Jonas Mekas 100! is intended to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Lithuanian-born avant-garde filmmaker, film critic and poet Jonas Mekas in 2022. The programme featuring over 50 various events was put together by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, the Lithuanian Cultural Attachés and the Estate of Jonas Mekas. Diverse events are taking place in well-known cultural institutions in a number of countries around the world. The programme is partially funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. 

Calendar of Jonas Mekas 100! programme: www.jonasmekas100.com

Opening Event

Prior to the screening, opening remarks by program curator Dr. Ariel Schweitzer and Sivan Beskin, poet and translator of Mekas' poetry into Hebrew

Fragments of Paradise

Dir.: K.D Davison
| 98 minutes

With a wealth of scenes from his films, testimonials, and interviews with his close circle, and archival footage, Fragments of Paradise is an intimate, surprising, and electrifying look at the life and work of Lithuanian filmmaker, Jonas Mekas - an icon of experimental cinema.

Walden

Dir.: Jonas Mekas
| 180 minutes

Walden is a chronicle of Jonas Mekas’ life in New York in the 1960s through his 16mm lens, as he focuses on daily life, the art world, experimental cinema, and conversation with the likes of Andy Warhol, John Lennon, and the Velvet Underground.

Reminiscences of a Journey

Dir.: Jonas Mekas
| 81 minutes

The film, presented in diary form, focuses on three focal events in Jonas Mekas’ life: 16mm footage of life in New York in the 1950s, a journey back, together with his brother, to his home village in Lithuania, and their experiences of the War.

Lost Lost Lost

Dir.: Jonas Mekas
| 176 minutes

Jonas Mekas's most melancholic film documents his arrival in New York in the 1950s and conveys the sense of displacement and loss that accompanied him at that time, but also the hope of integration into American life, especially in the New York art world.

Sleepless Nights Stories

Dir.: Jonas Mekas
| 114 minutes

Inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, with himself in the role of narrator, Mekas takes us to his nocturnal encounters in New York City: family, friends, art - 25 chapters behind the scenes of the city: apartments, studios, galleries, bars, and clubs.

Hallelujah the Hills

Dir.: Adolfas Mekas, Jonas Mekas
| 82 minutes

Two friends embark on an adventure trip in the woods of Vermont to forget the girl they are both in love with. The Mekas’ brothers' joint work is a burlesque journey through the genres of classic American cinema and a milestone in the history of American underground cinema.

A Hole in the Moon

Dir.: Uri Zohar
| 72 minutes

A Hole in the Moon is a wild, zany parody of Israel in the early 1960s. Zohar, a new immigrant, opens a kiosk in the middle of nowhere. The lack of clients doesn’t deter Heffner from opening a competing business across the road.

The Sixties Quartet

Dir.: Jonas Mekas
| 129 minutes

The film consists of four short films and presents portraits of prominent figures in the American art world: Andy Warhol, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, experimental groundbreaking artist, George Maciunas, and rare footage of encounters with Jackie Kennedy while on vacation.