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Film Magazine of the Arts, USA, 1963
27 October 2019

Jonas Mekas

Jonas Mekas Shorts II

Film Magazine of the Arts, USA, 1963,16mm on HD, black & white, 20′
 
“In Spring 1963, Showmagazine asked me to make a film on arts in New York. I told them, why did they want me to make it – didn't they know I was a bit off their track? [...] ‘We want something unusual,’ they said. So I went out and made a newsreel on the arts, about what was happening new in the arts in New York at that time. Showpeople looked at the rough cut of the film and became very angry. ‘But there is nothing about Showmagazine in the movie,’ they said. ‘What has that to do with arts in New York!’ I said. The battle was short. The film was destroyed. Really, I have no idea what they did with it. This work print of the first cut of the Film Magazine of the Artsis the only version of it in existence.” ―Jonas Mekas
 
Hare Krishna, USA, 1966, 16mm on HD, colour, 4′
 
“One Sunday afternoon in New York – beautiful new generation – dancing in the streets of New York – singing ‘Hare Hare’ – filling the streets and the air with love – in the very beginning of the New Age – Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky (on soundtrack) singing.” ―Jonas Mekas
 
Notes on the Circus, USA, 1966, 16mm on HD, colour, 12′
 
“When I filmed the Circus, I was interested in certain details, certain movements, certain colours. We don’t see much of how certain tricks are being performed. I didn’t go into that, that didn’t interest me. The drive was towards the colour and motion. But then, it is closely connected with the instrument that one is working with. The camera is, really in a sense, very much like a brush to a painter, it is as complete an extension of your hand, an extension of your being, your eye, your totality... You have to realize that most of what you saw was not ‘edited,’ it was just ‘strung together,’ as they say.” ―Jonas Mekas


 


Time and Fortune Vietnam Newsreel, USA, 1968, 16 mm on HD, colour, 4′
 
“A spoof interview with War Minister of Lapland concerning war in Vietnam. A few practical suggestions are given, among them a suggestion to turn the conduction of war over to the mafia. The Minister is played by Adolfas Mekas”. ―Jonas Mekas
 

Report from Millbrook, USA, 1966, 16 mm on HD, colour, 12′
 
“Report from Millbrookwas filmed in 1965, on a weekend visit to Timothy Leary’s place. It was a light summer outing. No LSD. Tim took me for a walk, though, and we talked about LSD. At one point in our walk we stopped on a little bridge. We looked into the stream silently. Tim broke the silence. He had noticed, he said, that I was only reading while other guests were using the occasion, under his supervision to go through an LSD experience. I told him that the chemicals that motivate and drive artists are more powerful and mysterious than LSD or any drug. On that note we turned back and ended our walk. There was nothing more to say. In 1966, Tim’s place was raided by the local sheriff. The East Village Othertaped an interview with the sheriff about the raid. I used the interview as the soundtrack for the film.” ―Jonas Mekas
 
Street Songs, USA, 1983, 16mm on HD, black & white, 10′
 
“Street Songsis a 1966 performance in France of a section of the Living Theater’s Mysteries and Smaller Pieces. Based on a chance-determined scenario written by Jackson Mac Low in 1961, Street Songsweaves militant political chants into a mandala of mantras. Julian Beck sits cross-legged on an empty stage; the slogans he repeats – ‘Free All Men! Ban the Bomb! Stop the War! Free the Blacks! Change the World!’ – are both meditation and calls to action, as a crowd of voices answers each slogan and actors join him on stage to pace in a circle, clasp one another’s shoulders and collectively breath ‘Ommm...’” ―Sally Banes, Village Voice, October 18, 1983
 
Imperfect 3-Image Films, USA, 1995, 16mm on HD, black & white and colour, silent, 6′
 
“In 1995 Julius Ziz came up with an idea of films made up of only three images. He asked me to contribute some three-image films of my own to a Three Image Film Festival he organized at Anthology Film Archives. This film is my contribution to that genre of cinema. Since my filming style depends a lot on shooting frame by frame, these are imperfect 3-image films.” ―Jonas Mekas
 
Song of Avignon, USA, 1998, 16 mm on HD, colour, 5′
 
“Reflections on my 1966 trip to Avignon that helped me to survive a deep crisis I was going through. Some random images from the period, the sunrise approaching Avignon, from the train, etc. Soundtrack: texts from my diaries of that period, read by Angus MacLise.” ―Jonas Mekas
 
Travel Songs, USA, 2003, 16mm on HD, colour, silent, 23′
 
Five different “songs” or segments: footage from Avila (Spain), Stockholm, Moscow, Assisi (Italy). Brief images, a lot of single frame activity.

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