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JONAS MEKAS: FILM IN THE LINE OF FIRE
from 13 NOV 2017 to 19 NOV 2017
Programme: António Preto

Jonas Mekas (Lithuania, 1922) is undoubtedly the most important director of American avant-garde cinema. Mekas left Lithuania in 1944, fleeing from the Nazis, accompanied by his brother, and spent five years wandering through Germany, still reeling from the devastation of World War II. When he finally arrived in the United States in 1949, he borrowed some money and purchased a 16mm Bolex camera to record moments from his life in the poor neighbourhoods of Brooklyn, where he was seeking work.

Connected to the Fluxus movement, Mekas was one of the founders of the influential Film Culture magazine, the New American Cinema Group, the Filmmakers Cooperative and the Anthology Film Archives, in New York. In close collaboration with artists such as Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Allen Ginsberg, Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith, Stan Brakhage, among others, Mekas was one of the protagonists and main drivers of the New York underground.

Defending close collaboration between the arts – as a multifaceted artist: filmmaker, poet, critic, curator ... - Jonas Mekas is also one of the artists who most enthusiastically implemented some of the ideals that polarized the second avant-garde movements - such as collective artistic creation or the confluence and blurring between art and life, resulting in a direct, raw, diary-style cinema that pursues the purity of amateurism, often based on improvisation and closely linked to daily life, through which he redefines the status and functions of art. He prefers to describe this filmmaking style as "poetic” (rather than avant-garde, and even less experimental), that seeks to free itself from narrative and formal constraints to fully exploit the medium’s expressive possibilities. Above all, a cinema that affirms itself as a vehicle of openness to new forms of aesthetic experience, of ideas about reality, and which therefore advocates a humanistic vision of the functions of culture: democratic, made by everyone and for everyone. Mekas is, certainly, the last of the romantics. As he himself summarised in one of his first articles for The Village Voice in 1959, it’s about combating horror with beauty and learning to see the world with fresh eyes.

A cinema that forges empathy with the world and with others, an impulse to glimpse wonder in the banal, Jonas Mekas’ cinema is much more than a mere hypothesis of escaping from the sense of uprooting that marked the 20th century, and which is once again a dramatically topical issue. It concerns the urgent need to forge a commitment with history. From his vast oeuvre, produced over the last 60 years, using multiple media and formats, a selection of films will be presented at Serralves, ranging from the most recent works to the most emblematic, that mark the singularity of his oeuvre and which reposition avant-garde cinema as cinema in the firing line.

Price:
Per session:
Standard ticket - 3€
Friends benefactors, over 65 and students - 1,5€

Full program - 9 sessions:
Standard ticket -20 €
Friends benefactors, over 65 and students - 10 €
Related Activities
13 NOV (MON), 21H30

Guns of the Trees, 1962
35mm, 87 min.
14 NOV (TUE), 21H30

Notes on the Circus, 1966
16mm, 12 min.
The Brig, 1964
16mm-35mm, 68 min.
15 NOV (WED), 21H30

Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania, 1972
16mm, 82 min.
16 NOV (THU), 21H30

Walden (Diaries, Notes, and Sketches), 1969
16mm, 180 min.
17 NOV (FRI), 21H30

Lost Lost Lost, 1976
16mm, 180 min
18 NOV (SAT), SESSIONS AT 15H AND 21H30

SESSION AT 15H00:

As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, 2000
16mm, 288 min.

SESSION AT 21H30:

He Stands in the Desert Counting The Seconds of His Life, 1985
16mm, 150 min.
19 NOV (SUN), SESSIONS AT 17H AND 21H30

SESSION AT 17H00:

Sleepless Nights Stories, 2011
DV, 114 min.

SESSION AT 21H30:

Out-takes from the Life of a Happy Man, 2012
DV, 68 min.
  • LocationSerralves Auditorium
  • Days 13 NOV 2017 - 19 NOV 2017
  • Price€ 20,00
  • Serralves Friend€ 10,00

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Rua D. João de Castro, 210
4150-417 Porto Portugal
41º 9'35.40"N
8º39'35.35ºW
Serralves