There isn’t one word, or even a dozen, to characterize the breadth of Jonas Mekas’s achievement. The founder or co-founder of Film Culture magazine, the Filmmaker’s Distribution Center, the Filmmaker’s Coop, the Filmmaker’s Cinematheque, and Anthology Film Archives, Jonas was the Village Voice’s original film editor and, as its first film critic, a blogger avant la lettre (indeed, this blog is named for the weekly column he wrote from 1958 to 1974), as well as a poet, a diarist, an archivist, an exhibitor, an agitator, a networker, a publicist, a champion, and an astonishingly prolific filmmaker.
Jonas turns 90 on Christmas Eve and the celebratory countdown begins Monday at Anthology Film Archives with the New York premiere of “My Paris Movie” (sampling nearly three hours of footage shot in the French capital over the past five decades). The tribute continues through December 23 with a selection of Jonas’s features, portraits, web videos, digital films, performance documentaries, and mainly, a selection of his epic diary films, including “Lost, Lost, Lost”; “In Between: 1964-1968,” “Paradise is Not Yet Lost,” “He Stands in a Desert Counting the Seconds of His Life,” and “As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty.” No other filmmaker has come even remotely close to this documentation of his life and times.
Images: Jonas Mekas (Lost, Lost, Lost)