HomeFilmCentenary of avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas celebrated with UK cinema tour

Centenary of avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas celebrated with UK cinema tour

The Independent Cinema Office celebrates the centenary of Jonas Mekas’ birth. The Lithuanian Cultural Institute and curator Herb Shellenberger present the Jonas Mekas 100! UK Cinema Tour, showcasing some of Mekas’ most-celebrated films alongside lesser-seen works and tracing his influence in works that he inspired.

The Jonas Mekas 100! UK Cinema Tour will run in venues across the UK until December 2022. See more details and participating venues at the Independent Cinema Office.

Who was Jonas Mekas?

From humble beginnings in a farming village in Lithuania, Jonas Mekas emerged as a pivotal figure whose influence on twentieth-century art, cinema and culture extended internationally. As the central node of avant-garde film in the United States, he had a huge impact on people like Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Shirley Clarke, John Waters and Martin Scorsese. Over his 96 years, Mekas’ long list of accomplishments—included founding Film Culture magazine, the Film-Makers’ Cooperative and Anthology Film Archives—complementing his achievements as a poet, diarist, artist, organizer and, perhaps most importantly, a filmmaker.

Jonas Mekas 100! features a rare chance to see three landmark works by Mekas in the cinema: Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1976), depicting Jonas and his brother Adolfas’ return journey to their homeland, a film that was inducted into the United States National Film Registry in 2006; a new digital restoration of As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, an epic, 4.5 hour-film that premiered to acclaim at the 2000 London Film Festival; and Out-Takes from the Life of a Happy Man.

The tour also features a brand-new programme of Mekas’ short films created over 51 years. This programme, made in collaboration with the Jonas Mekas Estate and RE:VOIR brings the joy, beauty and sense of wonder integral to his cinema to audiences across the United Kingdom. A fifth program contextualises Mekas’ work as a programmer, showing the work of his friends and co-conspirators whose films he exhibited at Anthology Film Archives in New York.

Greg Jameson
Greg Jameson
Book editor, with an interest in cult TV.

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