On 1-4 September, a month-long programme of events titled SMÅ GLIMT AV PARADIS (Little Glimpses from Paradise) dedicated to the centenary of Jonas Mekas was opened at the Danish Film Institute’s National Cinemathèque in Kopenhagen.
The programme included 11 film screenings, an exhibition of photographs by Arūnas Kulikauskas, as well as discussions, interviews and conversations with the artist’s son Sebastian Mekas, photographer Arūnas Kulikauskas, Danish writer, filmmaker, American avant-garde art expert, curator of the programme of events dedicated to the centenary of Jonas Mekas, Lars Movin, and cultural attaché of the Republic of Lithuania in Sweden, Finland and Denmark Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson.
The programme of events, which was held until 29 September, presented the following films: Jonas Mekas Anthology, Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania, Walden, The Brig, The Sixties Quartet, Lost, Lost, Lost, As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, The Misfits and other works. On 6 September, the centenary of Jonas Mekas was also celebrated in the Danish city of Aartus, where Mekas’ film Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania was presented in the Øst for Paradis cinema.
“Jonas Mekas is undoubtedly one of the most important filmmakers of the 20th century, and we are proud to have had the opportunity to organise the first retrospective of his films in Denmark. The viewers received Mekas’ films very warmly, especially the long video diaries, which are simply stunning. They are excellent in their imagery; they are melancholic, heartwarming and poetic”, shared one of the guests of the programme, who watched all of Jonas Mekas’ films. “We would not have been able to present such a broad retrospective (11 films) without the help of the Lithuanian Culture Institute and especially that of the cultural attaché Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson. It was a unique and wonderful collaborative experience,” said Jesper Andersen, Director of Programmes at the Danish National Cinemathèque.
As part of the presentation of the creative legacy of Jonas Mekas in Denmark, the weekly WEEKENDAVISEN published an extensive article by Lars Movin, En evig drøm om Semeniškiai (Eternal dream of Semeniškiai, 2022.08.02), which reviewed the creative legacy of Jonas Mekas and its significance in world culture.
“From the moment Jonas Mekas set foot on American soil in October 1949 and picked up a 16mm film camera, he began to make history. Never severing a strong connection to his Lithuanian roots, he always moved forward, continuously developing and honing his unique filmmaking style for seven decades, and achieved perfection in this field – he used the camera like a pen for writing. In addition, he devoted an incredible amount of energy and provided a wealth of insight contributing immensely to the movement that sought to create personal, non-commercial cinema. This movement became known as New American Cinema. And that’s not all: Jonas Mekas was also an active organiser and driving force of such institutions as Film-Makers’ Cooperative, Film-Makers’ Cinematheque and Anthology Film Archives. In my opinion, Mekas was undoubtedly one of the most important film artists and facilitators of the 20th century, always raising the highest artistic and poetic criteria for cinema. It was a great honour and pleasure for us to present his life’s work here in Denmark”, shared Danish writer, filmmaker, and curator of Jonas Mekas’ centenary programme, Lars Movin.
The Jonas Mekas film project was initiated, coordinated and presented at the Danish Film Institute’s National Cinemathèque by the Lithuanian cultural attaché in Sweden, Finland and Denmark Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson, in cooperation with the Danish Film Institute, Jesper Andersen, programme director of the National Cinemathèque, Lars Movin, curator of the programme dedicated to the centenary of Jonas Mekas, and Pip Chodorov, an expert of Jonas Mekas’ work. The project was partially funded by the Lithuanian Culture Institute.
More information about the programme dedicated to the centenary of Jonas Mekas in Denmark is available here: https://www.dfi.dk/cinemateket/biograf/filmserier/serie/jonas-mekas-sma-glimt-af-paradis
The international programme dedicated to the centenary of Jonas Mekas, comprising over 50 various events, has been prepared by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, the Lithuanian cultural attachés and the Estate of Jonas Mekas. Film screenings, exhibitions, video installations, concerts, poetry readings, discussion and thematic residency programmes, poetry translation workshops, publishing projects and other initiatives will take place in leading cultural institutions in many countries around the world. The programme is partially funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The Jonas Mekas 100! programme is available on the website www.jonasmekas100.com