Jonas Mekas Sampler

(Above: Jonas Mekas. Source: Vimeo screenshot)

“Cinema is like a big tree, but we should not neglect the tiny, tiny branches,” declared Jonas Mekas during a 2017 discussion at the New York Public Library.

Mekas, pioneer avant-garde filmmaker and evangelist for independent film, died yesterday at 96.

He left behind a treasure trove of his own experimental films, plus the vast collection of New York’s Anthology Film Archives, which he founded in 1970.

Long before smartphones gave everyone the ability to shoot personal videos, Mekas filmed “diaries” of his life. In the following hour-long film from 1990, he takes us on A Walk through New York City:

In addition to countless short films (you can find a whole year’s worth of them and much more on jonasmekas.com), the Lithuanian immigrant also made numerous feature-length movies. Fandor subscribers can stream ten of them, including Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972), which has been named to the National Film Registry; and a rare drama, The Brig (1964), about US military prisoners, which won the grand prize winner at the Venice Film Festival.

Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania can also be rented for $3.99 from Mubi or Amazon.

Here is an excerpt from Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania:

And this excerpt from The Brig:



Finally, here is a 2016 interview with Mekas, including clips from additional films:

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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