Sunday, December 06, 2009

94 as i was moving ahead occasionally i saw brief glimpses of beauty (mekas, 2000)

Its description seems to indicate an endurance test: 288 minutes of Proustian remembrances by Jonas Mekas, Lithuanian emigre, paterfamilias of American avant-garde* film, the man at the controls at Anthology Film Archives (which is where I saw this), altogether a filmmaker, historian, teacher, and a-g impresario - a man who spent time in a German forced-labor camp during WWII, and who would be arrested in 1964 for showing Flaming Creatures at Anthology (nee Filmmakers' Cinematheque). After arriving in New York, it was my first "All right, I'm fuckin doin this, let's go" avant-garde work, and it was a terrific experience. Rather than difficult, As I Was Moving expresses Mekas's memories often in mesmerizing fashion, as images flit by, barely seen, achieving the cumulative effect of rolling through the maker's mind and memory. Mekas narrates, reads, and sings.

* For lack - the old story goes - of a better term.

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