Close Up

25 October 2011: Reminiscences: Vivian Ostrovksy & Jonas Mekas


Close-Up is delighted to present two films by renowned filmmakers Vivian Ostrovsky and Jonas Mekas. The films deal with cultural, political and personal history and present in a diary-like style fascinating accounts of the filmmakers’ relationships with the former USSR and Lithuania respectively.

Nikita Kino
Vivian Ostrovsky
2002 | 40 min | Colour & B/W | Digtial

"In 1960 my family lived in Brazil when my father discovered his sister and brother in Moscow, who he hadn’t seen for 40 years, were still alive. Since they couldn’t leave the USSR we went to visit them regularly for about 15 years. At the time I had my 8mm then a super 8 camera with which I filmed the family, our outings, picnics, markets and their homes… I decided to use this material, which was not very interesting per se, by mixing it with Soviet found-footage of the same period (1960s, 1970s, 1980s). I used feature films, propaganda footage, newsreels, etc. The result is a kind of Khruschev-era mix with a collage of Soviet music and a voice-over of my reminiscences of the Cold War era." – Vivian Ostrovsky

Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania
Jonas Mekas
1972 | 82 min | Colour & B/W | 16mm

"This film consists of three parts. The first part is made up of footage I shot with my first Bolex during my first years in America, mostly from 1950-1953… The second part was shot in August 1971, in Lithuania. Almost all of the footage come from Semeniskiai, the village I was born in… The third part begins with a parenthesis in Elmshorn, a suburb of Hambourg, where we spent a year in forced labor camp during the war. After the parenthesis closes, we are in Vienna where we see some of my best friend – Peter Kubelka, Hermann Nitsch, Annette Michelson, Ken Jacobs… The sound: I talk during much of the film, reminiscing about this and that. Mostly it's about myself, as a Displaced Person, my relation to home, Memory, Culture, Up-rootedness, Childhood." – Jonas Mekas