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Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 4 October 1972 (USA)
A film diary divided into three episodes. In the first part Jonas Mekas tells about his time as emigrant in New York in 1950s, after leaving the home country of Lithuania. The second part ... See full summary »


Jonas Mekas


Jonas Mekas
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Credited cast:
Jonas Mekas ... Self
Adolfas Mekas Adolfas Mekas ... Self
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pola Chapelle Pola Chapelle ... Self
Ken Jacobs Ken Jacobs ... Self
Peter Kubelka Peter Kubelka ... Self
Hollis Melton Hollis Melton ... Self
Annette Michelson ... Self
Hermann Nitsch Hermann Nitsch ... Self
Daniel Rogosin Daniel Rogosin ... Self


A film diary divided into three episodes. In the first part Jonas Mekas tells about his time as emigrant in New York in 1950s, after leaving the home country of Lithuania. The second part depicts his first trip back there, while the last is filmed during a stay in Vienna shortly afterwards. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Referenced in A néni (2017) See more »

User Reviews

Early 'Film Diary'
12 July 2020 | by Tornado_SamSee all my reviews

While Lithuanian filmmaker Jonas Mekas is known by many as the 'godfather of American avant-garde cinema', much of his work was focused on a particular, independent genre: the film diary. Throughout the filmmaker's lengthy career, most of his feature-length movies were made in this style: a collection of memories presented nostalgically through the eyes of Mekas himself, reminiscing about the things that are no more. Far from normal documentaries, these films show life as it really was, being made entirely from amateur home movie footage, raw and unedited in any drastic way. It paints a great picture of life as it once was, and just by watching them the viewer appreciates seeing a former society, and enjoys the small things about their own life much more.

"Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania", unlike later ones, is focused on a more single topic: the director's return to his home country Lithuania years and years after immigrating to the United States. The hour and eighteen minute film is focused entirely on showing the characteristics of a rural lifestyle in the Lithuanian countryside, and does so in an amazingly interesting way. For being called the 'godfather of American avant-garde cinema', the film is relatively straightforward in presenting its documentations. While the visual aspect is entirely home movie footage (no doubt Kodachrome), the manner in which it becomes a story is the narration by Mekas, which gives the viewer insight as to the significance of the scenes. Albeit muffled and hard to understand at times, the anecdotes, comments, etc. shared by the filmmaker are interesting to hear and give the film more cohesion. The addition of music (such as folk tunes) to the images further brings it all together and helps give the film that feeling of nostalgia.

Some may not care for the camerawork in the film, which is admittedly terrible from a technical point of view. Yet, this does give the film a certain charm: regardless of what the casual viewer may think, this is how home movies were shot, focused on capturing everything and not on good camerawork. The jumpiness and jittery quality of the images may be sort of hard on the eyes for some people, but it an honest depiction of how amateur films were once shot. As a whole, a great picture of how life once was, and it gives the viewer a near feeling of shame on how the values and lifestyles of then are carelessly discarded today. Maybe the quality of life was much greater then?

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English | Lithuanian

Release Date:

4 October 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Vaughan Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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