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Jonas Mekas: Happy 87th Birthday!

The Underground Film Journal wishes Jonas Mekas, the godfather of underground film, a happy birthday today, his 87th. To celebrate the occasion, I’ve embedded the above, two-and-a-half minute excerpt from his five-hour epic diary film As I Was Moving Ahead, Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty.

Orange tabby cat lying down

For all I’ve written about Mekas on the Underground Film Journal, I’ve sadly still yet to see one of his feature-length productions. I’ve only seen a couple of his brief short pieces that have been posted online. His films don’t screen in L.A. that I’ve ever seen or heard of, although I’ll have to get Microcinema’s Walden DVD sometime soon. In the above excerpt, he discusses the process of assembling the film via voiceover. He just randomly pulled selections from his collection of film and video to piece the final product together, which is kind of like the way memory jumps around where one remembrance of a time past will lead to another in an emotional, not chronological order.

When I started covering underground film in-depth on the Underground Film Journal, Jonas’ book Movie Journal was a huge influence on me and how I do things here, whether that’s apparent or not. So, happy birthday to Jonas and a happy holiday to all.


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