Jonas Mekas x 3 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jonas Mekas x 3


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For nearly five decades, Jonas Mekas has been eminent in avant-garde cinema--as critic, publisher, exhibitor, archivist, and especially as filmmaker. The rapid-fire editing he brings to his film diaries provokes a perpetual refocusing of attention from instant to instant, intensifying the viewer's experience of the moment even as it slips into the past. Scenes From the Life of Andy Warhol (1990) turns flickering glimpses of Warhol and various celebrities (Allen Ginsberg, John and Caroline Kennedy as children) into a fragmentary memento mori. Zefiro Torna or Scenes From the Life of George Maciunas (1992) begins with rare 1952 footage of the legendary Fluxus artist--like Mekas a Lithuanian emigre--followed by more scenes from the 70s. Mekas speaks of Maciunas's eating habits, his artistic philosophy, and his battle with terminal cancer. Footage of several Fluxus performances documents--without fully capturing--their eccentric power, adding further resonance to this meditation on life's brevity. These films are showing as part of "Lithuanian Cinema: Traditions and Transitions" (see sidebar). Also on the program: This Side of Paradise: Fragments of an Unfinished Biography (1999). 104 min. Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton, Tuesday and Thursday, March 18 and 20, 7:00, 773-281-4114.

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