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Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania1972

  • 3.9
The midwife of American avant-garde cinema, Jonas Mekas (along with his brother Adolfas) was unloaded in New York City by the United Nation Refugee Agency in 1949. There were surely worse places to end-up and Mekas was "hungry for culture," observing the immigrant community in Brooklyn through the lens of his 16mm Bolex, one of his first acquisitions in his new home. This remarkable black-and-white footage surfaces in the first part of his film, depicting an early 1950s Williamsburg that no longer exists, old world faces and laundry strung between buildings. Mekas filmed these immigrants, "old dying animals," singing and dancing on Atlantic Avenue, acting like "they were somewhere else." Twenty years later, Mekas (and his brother and his Bolex) was allowed to return to (then-Soviet) Lithuania for the first time since coming to New York. Warm color pallets depict the journey to his homeland, digging through memories of Semeniškiai, the farming village where he grew up. Trees have grown and people have changed. He has changed. The two brothers then retrace the path they took twenty five years earlier, escaping Lithuania for Vienna but never arriving (they were captured by the Nazis and spent a year in a forced labor camp). Mekas reflections narrate this intimate, personal essay in which he will finally reach Vienna, his point of no return. - Stela Jelincic

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Member Reviews (1)

So happy to Mr Mekas here on Fandor....