An experimental director revisits his early days in New York.
Lithuanian-born artist Jonas Mekas has had a storied career both as a pioneer in American avant-garde cinema and as a film critic and curator. Among other things, he wrote for publications like Film Culture and the Village Voice in the 1950s, and he co-founded New York’s Anthology Film Archives. In honour of his 90th birthday last month, and as a toast to the new year, Early Monthly Segments screens a segment of one of his most personal films.
One of Mekas’ celebrated diary films, 1976’s Lost, Lost, Lost documents his first years in New York, where he would become integral to the experimental filmmaking community. Early Monthly Segments is showing the first of the film’s three hours, devoted to his family’s arrival in Brooklyn in 1949. The film places Mekas within a community of post-war Lithuanian immigrants in the United States, examining the tension between his desire to honour his past and to lay down roots in his new home.
The screening is preceded by Rhapsody on a Theme from A House Movie, Toronto filmmaker Lorne Marin’s 1972 short. The 16mm film foregrounds Marin’s experimentation with lap dissolves of static shots. It also serves as a portrait of her street and the people who dwell there.