In the Shadow of the Light
August 3 at 4:00 p.m.
West Building Lecture Hall
National Gallery of Art
4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW Washington, DC
Closest Metro Stations: Archives, Judiciary Square, Smithsonian Mall
Jonas Mekas: the man who inspired Andy Warhol to make films
Jonas Mekas is a Lithuanian filmmaker, poet and artist who has often been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema." His work has been exhibited in museums and festivals world-wide.
Mekas is an integral figure in the history of what used to be called underground cinema, not just as a film-maker, but as a writer, a curator and a catalyst.
In 1969, he helped set up the Anthology Film Archives in New York, which houses the most extensive library of experimental films in existence, and he has since overseen the restoration of many classics of the form.
His conversation is peppered with the names of the more famous people he worked with in the golden age of avant-garde film-making in the 1960s, from Yoko Ono to Jackie Kennedy, Allen Ginsberg and the Beats to the Warhol set. Many of these figures ended up in his films, which have in turn influenced the likes of Jim Jarmusch, Harmony Korine, John Waters and Mike Figgis.
ABOUT THE FILM
One of the only film portraits of Lithuania-born, avant-garde luminary and Anthology Film Archives’ founder Jonas Mekas (b. 1922) is Chris Teerink’s Dutch documentary.
“Documentary . . . it’s when somebody makes a film on a certain subject with the intention of revealing. It is the kind of film I hate,” declares Mekas.
It’s clear, though, as he rambles around the Anthology’s treasures, holds court with colleagues, and ponders the work that has been his calling, the recording of Mekas’ life is a labor of love for the filmmakers and their subject alike.
(Chris Teerink and Sarah Payton, 2007, 90 minutes)