Anthology Film Archives


October 1 – October 4

On January 23, 2019, 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.

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. Immediately following his death, we embarked on a multi-part, comprehensive retrospective of his films and videos, both widely celebrated classics and far more obscure works. That retrospective was all set to conclude with a fifth and final chapter in the spring of 2020, which was ultimately postponed due to the pandemic.

Now, as both a long-delayed continuation of the memorial retrospective, and a celebration of Jonas’s centennial (he was born on December 24, 1922), we present the series of screenings that were initially planned in 2020. The earlier chapters of the retrospective were devoted to his diary films, his portraits of people and places, and his films documenting various forms of art or performance. This installment, on the other hand, showcases the remaining films in Jonas’s filmography, which don’t easily fit into any category. The selection encompasses a small subset of films that constitute film- or video-letters to friends, colleagues, or to the public at large, as well as numerous others that demonstrate Jonas’s restless and ever-inventive openness to new cinematic forms.

Very special thanks to Oona & Sebastian Mekas, and to Elle Burchill.

All descriptions are by Jonas Mekas unless otherwise noted.

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