Underground Film Journal

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Adolfas Mekas, R.I.P.

By Mike Everleth ⋅ May 31, 2011

Adolfas Mekas holding a film reel behind his head like an angel halo

At indieWIRE, Eric Kohn has reported that underground filmmaker Adolfas Mekas has passed away at the age of 85. The news was confirmed by his niece Oona. The cause of death is heart failure.

Mekas was born on Sept. 30, 1925 in Lithuania. He was the younger brother of Jonas Mekas. Both siblings had to flee their native country in 1944, but they were caught and forced into a labor camp from which they eventually escaped.

After spending some time in two displaced persons camps in Europe, the Mekas brothers made their way to New York City and settled in Brooklyn. In their newly adopted home city, they studied film with Hans Richter, founded the journal Film Culture and began making movies.

Adolfas’ most famous film is Hallelujah the Hills, an avant-garde screwball comedy. You can watch the opening segment of this film online, the full version of which is available from the distributor re:voir.

In 1971, Adolfas began teaching filmmaking at Bard College. He retired in 2004.

According to Kohn, there will be a NYC memorial service, but no dates have been set as of this writing.

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