Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania

Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania


“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. It shows me and my brother Adolfas, how we looked in those days; miscellaneous footage of immigrants in Brooklyn, picnicking, dancing, singing; the streets of Williamsburg.

The second part was shot in August 1971, in Lithuania. Almost all of the footage come from Semeniskiai, the village I was born in. You see the old house, my mother (born 1887), all the brothers, goofing, celebrating our home-coming; you see it only through the memories of a Displaced Person back home for the first time in twenty five years.

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. You also see the Monastery of Kremsmuenster, the Stammdorff castel of Nitsch, the house of Wittgenstein, etc. The film ends with the burning of the Vienna fruit market, August 1971.

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. There are a few Lithuanian song sung by all of the Mekas brothers (my brother Adolfas and his wife, Pola, was with me on the same trip, and eventually you'll see Adolfas' view of the same journey, shot with his 16mm Bolex, and Pola’s view shot with her 8mm Minolta). I use two songs sung by the Lithuanian Folk Ensembleconducted by P.Tamosaitis. The prelude for a piano, by K.M. Ciurlionis, played by Vytautas Lanasbergis, are also used. In the third part I use Anton Bruckner (Mas N. 3 in F minor) and a madrigal by Gesualdo (Deller Consort).” – Jonas Mekas