Jonas Mekas’ Film Program in Georgia – Portraits from the 20th century

    Georgia celebrates the centenary of Jonas Mekas with Film program “Portraits from the 20th century” and screenings in two cities – Batumi and Kutaisi.  

    Organizers: The Embassy of Republic of Lithuania to Georgia and online platform of cinema CinExpress.ge

    The program is concentrated around portraits of different people, artists captured by Jonas Mekas and his self-portraits. Fragments and scenes from life, personal memories, create visual archive and poetry of Jonas Mekas’ cinema. In the chosen films we see – echoes of time, culture, historical, biographical processes and artistic impulses of concrete authors. 

    Film program:

    Screening of Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania at Batumi International Art-House Film Festival; (September 23, Batumi, Cinema Apollo);

    Short films program at Kutaisi International Short Film Festival: Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciuna, Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali at Work, Happy Birthday to John; (September 27-28, Kutaisi, Cinema Sakartvelo);

    The program curated by Lika Glurjidze, Nini Shvelidze   

    Full Information about the program and Jonas Mekas:

    In 2022 the world is celebrating the centenary of the legendary Lithuanian filmmaker, poet and critic Jonas Mekas whose life and work are closely linked to Lithuania and the United States of America.

    The cause of emigration, the loss and subsequent return home and the poetic depiction of the daily life are the main themes of Mekas’ films, his books and his life story. Mekas is often hailed as the “godfather of the avant-garde film”.

    His life was greatly influenced by the occupation of Lithuania and the time spent in the German labour concentration camp following which he emigrated to New York where he joined those who had fled totalitarian regimes in Europe.

    Mekas not only found himself in the epicentre of New York’s cultural and artistic life but he also gave impetus to various important processes.

    Mekas’ first appearance as film critic was in The Village Voice. In 1954 he and his brother Adolfas founded the Film Culture magazine which explored and supported the new American cinema.

    In early 1960 Mekas made his first “poetic film” and deliberately avoided the established trends by using a unique form, a “film diary”, depicting “intimate moments of everyday life.” The war, the exile, the theme of remembering and forgetting, observing daily life with the help of the camera and the desire to register every moment became an indivisible part of his work.

    Besides his own work, Mekas takes on the task of a “midwife” to curate noncommercial films. In 1962 he and his brother Adolfas founded the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and later the Film-Makers’ Cinematheque, which in 1970 eventually grew into the Anthology Film Archives. It is noteworthy that the Anthology Film Archives is considered to be one of the best collections of avant-garde films.

    For decades Mekas worked and maintained friendships with cult figures creating their portraits. Many artists’ creative impulses and their footprint became part of the reality of Mekas’ films. We have gathered film portraits of fundamentally diverse artists captured during their creative work by Mekas’ film camera: John Lennon, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and George Maciunas. This is the archive of scenes of life, events, dates and portraits of artists at work or engaged in eccentric everyday life activities. Here a self-portrait of Mekas is captured on camera as well as a storyteller, an observer, a participant and his characters’ supporter. Jonas Mekas’ self-portrait which is scattered all over his films is invariably linked to other characters. Memory of places in Mekas’ films is depicted through portraits, time and camera visual frames. People and places create a map which a spectator follows through Mekas’ films. Mekas’ cinema is an infinite journey full of collecting stories and the desire to return home. Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania is a manifest of the endless cinematic journey, emigration, displacement, return to home and binds together the story of one immigrant and voices of many others from XX and XXI centuries.

    Click HERE for original source.