On January 23rd of this year, almost a month after his 96th birthday, Anthology’s founder Jonas Mekas passed away. Despite his advanced age, Jonas’s energy, joy, and perceptiveness, as well as his mischievous spirit and boundless openness to new forms of expression, were unflagging until his very final days. He remained a fixture of experimental and independent culture – in NYC and internationally – and a major driving force here at Anthology, until the end. In a very real sense, every program we present – and every film we save, preserve, and restore – has been and will continue to be a tribute to Jonas, to his tireless promotion of avant-garde film and his creation of multiple institutions and initiatives to support the infrastructure of non-commercial cinema. But in order to officially mark his passing we will be organizing numerous screenings over the coming months in his honor.
Jonas was, of course, not only a writer, poet, artist, and co-founder of Anthology, the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and Film Culture Magazine, but also a filmmaker of great renown. Throughout this year and next we’ll be paying tribute to his oeuvre by screening a wide selection of his films and videos, both widely celebrated classics and far more obscure works.
In the spring we showcased his major “diary” films, and in the summer we highlighted his filmic portraits of people, from Andy Warhol and John Lennon to George Maciunas, Hermann Nitsch, Martin Scorsese, and others. For the third part of the series, we’ll be focusing instead on the films that portray, reflect, or were somehow inspired by particular places, whether countries (EGYPT REGAINED), cities (MY PARIS MOVIE), neighborhoods (A LETTER FROM GREENPOINT), bars (MY MARS BAR MOVIE), or, in one instance, Anthology itself (LABORATORIUM ANTHOLOGY).
Very special thanks to Oona & Sebastian Mekas.