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2 - 17 December 2022: Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania


Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania
Jonas Mekas, 1972, 82 min

The 365 Days Project: February 21
Jonas Mekas, 2007, 5 min

Jonas Mekas was born in Semeniškiai, a small farming village in the Biržai region of northeastern Lithuania in 1922. His adolescence was spent in his own world of literature and poetry which consumed his daily life. This peaceful existence was thrown into turmoil with the arrival of Soviet and then Nazi troops to Lithuania. Jonas and his younger brother Adolfas attempted to flee to Vienna in 1944 but were diverted by the Germans to a forced labour camp outside of Hamburg. Following the War and several years living as displaced persons while studying in Germany, they got the opportunity to emigrate to the United States, where they settled in Brooklyn and began their artistic activities such as founding Film Culture magazine and making their own films. Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania documents the brothers’ return to their home after 27 years abroad.

An exquisitely composed document of this emotional homecoming, the film is structured as a triptych, with the central section comprising “100 Glimpses of Lithuania, August 1971”. Reuniting with siblings, neighbours and their mother Elžbieta – at that time in her eighties and still cooking outdoors over an open fire – the film brings the viewer along on a tour of village life in rural Soviet Lithuania. This is bookended by scenes from New York in the 1950s and a stop in Vienna following the brothers’ time in Lithuania.

Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania is preceded by a video from Mekas’s 365 Days Project, in which he released one video on each day of 2007 on his website. The video from February 21 is a comment on Britney Spears, shown in the newspaper days after she shaved her head. Mekas says, “They say she’s about to go through a nervous breakdown… Nervous breakdowns are very necessary! The artists that don’t go through nervous breakdowns: I don’t trust them.”” – Herb Shellenberger

Part of our retrospective celebrating Jonas Mekas' Centennial






Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania Saturday 10.12.22 8:15 pm Book
Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania Saturday 17.12.22 6:30 pm Book