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Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania

Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania
Director: Adolfas Mekas, Jonas Mekas

USA, Lithuania, experimental documentary, 1972, 88 min

This film is like an epilogue taken from a classic tale. Two brothers come home after visiting the lands lying far, far away... But contrary to folklore, they do not come back with their spirits down after losing everything abroad. No, this is a soulfully jolly stroll through memories, a meeting with loved ones and the happy brothers’, Adolfas and Jonas, merriment in their home in Semeniškės. This is idyllic Lithuania – the creators do not care about social or political battles, they see their native land as those who have been away for 25 years. “Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania” is a three part journey filmed on 16 mm film and showing adventures between New York, Semeniškės and Vienna.

Awards:

2006 – National Film Preservation Board included this film into the National Film Registry as a culturally significant piece of art (USA).

About the directors: 

Adolfas Mekas (1925–2011) started making frequent visits to the cinema at a young age, while still living in Biržai. It is said he went through the back door, without a ticket, but always as if he was visiting a feast. This could also be said about this director’s, one of the fathers of American avant-garde cinema, works – a search for a more intriguing road, not entering through the obvious front door, but through the ones that are hidden – the posterior ones. Arriving in New York in 1949 with his brother Jonas and, as he said, having started everything from nothing, they started publishing "Film Culture" and took the cameras into their hands. The director’s debut “Hallelujah the Hills” was greeted with ovations and shown even at the Cannes International film festival. The American press wrote that it’s one of the most creative and funny films they had ever seen. Though A. Mekas did not create many films, he spent his life studying film theory and working as the head of the film department at the prestigious Bard College, New York, founded in 1971 by A. Mekas himself.

Jonas Mekas (born in 1922) is the most important and influential Lithuanian filmmaker. His journey, beginning in a small Lithuanian town called Semeniškės, continues all over the world. Coming to the USA in 1949 with his brother Adolfas, he borrowed money for his first 16 mm “Bolex” filming camera after two weeks. And thus began a great creative voyage – Mekas’ films have travelled all over the world and have already inspired generations of filmmakers. Having worked with such artists as Jurgis Mačiūnas, Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol and John Lennon in New York, Mekas was being called the Godfather of American avantgarde cinema even in those early days. Having recently started creating visual installations, the director is also a former editor of numerous magazines and has published poetry, prose and fairy-tale books. Jonas Mekas’ ironically compassionate gaze still burns with mischievous light and asks the question, what lies ahead?

Section: Tribute to Adolfas Mekas

Dir. of Photography: Jonas Mekas

Cast: Annette Michelson, Peter Kubelka