Reminiscences of a journey to Lithuania (2009)
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Critic Reviews for Reminiscences of a journey to Lithuania
Reality TV is junk food in comparison to this nourishing feast of human experience.
The film's closing contrast, monastery libraries paired with a fire in Vienna, champions archiving as civilized resistance.
Audience Reviews for Reminiscences of a journey to Lithuania
Jonas Mekas was the pioneer of the diary film, and this is a three part diary of his memories of being an exile in America and his realization of his adaptation to his new home, a trip 20 something years later to visit his previous home in Lithuania, and a journey to Vienna to visit his friend Peter Kubelka. The first part is fairly conventional 'home video' compared to very herky jerky 2nd part that features a ton of extremely rapid cutting, which was quite beautiful and spontaneous. The extremely unstable 2nd part had a strange effect on me, as the gushing stream of images exhausted my senses to such a state that I floated through the rest of the film in a semi-conscious state, not fully aware what I saw was part of the film or a figment of my imagination.
rough draft for As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty:
It's difficult for me to write intelligently about a work of this magnitude and power, so here are some incoherent, random thoughts:
Like Walden, this film comprises mostly of footage from social gatherings, travels, picnics, daily rituals and activities arranged not in chronological order but by chance as Mekas as he says in the beginning. He describes this film as about nothing, and calls it "a masterpiece of nothing". In a way this claim is justified in that the achronological silent footage taken by his Bolex does not present more than a limited impression of the filmmaker. Yet later in the film Mekas tells the viewer to read the film carefully, claiming that 'he is in every frame'. Thus he is quite deceptive in how he chooses to present himself. More than anything the occasionally poetic voiceovers subtlety hints at an unpleasant past and wounds that he still bears, which is even suggested by the "occasionally ... brief glimpses of beauty" in the title(he equates happiness to beauty). These moments of anguish are overcome by the moments of "ecstasy" of living in NY with his friends and family. Likewise the essence of Mekas' images is stated by the title of another film "Autobiography of a Man Who Carried His Memories in His Eyes". He maintains that he films not reality but his memories, thus merely his point of view of events in his life. This subjectivity is further underscored by an intertitle that mocks the idyllic and perfect picture of domestic life portrayed by the film, perhaps because Mekas cannot capture moments of domestic strife or simply that the significance of these images can only grasped by him, although he later says that the images do not contain any hidden meaning. The many incarnations of his persona: as a family man, filmmaker, poet, film critic, champion of the avant garde, and the self-effacing, boyan-playing fool that are on display in his work gives me a fascinating portrait of the man (not to mention my brief real life encounter), similarly the film's images, sped up, pixilated, superimposed, in conjunction to the intertitles and voiceovers likewise presents many versions of Mekas during the different stages of filmmaking through the conception of the images to their retroactive organization decades later.
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