Close Up

3 - 18 December 2022: Jonas Mekas: Short Films & Videos 1966–2017


Short Films & Videos 1966-2017

Notes on the Circus, 1966, 12 min
Imperfect Three-Image Films, 1995, 6 min
Travel Songs, 2003, 28 min
A Letter to Penny Arcade, 2007, 15 min
My Birthday, 2014, 6 min
I Don’t Know Which Tree it Comes from that Fragrance, 2017, 16 min

“This programme presents a curated selection of Jonas Mekas’s short-form works made across a fifty-one-year period, showcasing the remarkable breadth of cinematic forms that he worked in over the decades. Notes on the Circus (1966), the earliest film in the programme, is Mekas’s impressionistic portrait of the classic Ringling Bros. three-ring circus, with trapeze artists, tumblers and animals colliding together in dazzling cinematic display of superimpositions, filmed in superfast or slow motion. Travel Songs (filmed between 1967-81, edited in 2003) compiles Mekas’s travels through Italy, Spain, Sweden and the USSR, documents of a “pilgrim of cinema” as he brings the films by the New American Cinema Group to new audiences or meets people like Pier Paolo Pasolini. Imperfect Three-Image Films (1995) contains a series of silent moving image haikus, while A Letter to Penny Arcade (2007) is a video letter to Mekas’s friend, the avant-garde performance artist and playwright. Filming on the day of his birth in 2014, My Birthday finds Mekas talking about his childhood through the analysis of a family photograph taken by his mother’s brother. Finally, I Don’t Know Which Tree it Comes from that Fragrance (2017) is Mekas’s tribute to Yoko Ono, a close friend for many decades. Viewed together, these small works give viewers a window into Jonas Mekas’s life, his friendships and his unique way of thinking through filming.” – Herb Shellenberger

Part of our retrospective celebrating Jonas Mekas' Centennial

This programme is supported by the Lithuanian Embassy and the Lithuanian Culture Institute.