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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 »

Director:

Jonas Mekas

Writer:

Jonas Mekas
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Cast

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

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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Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

DVD

Country:

UK | West Germany

Language:

English | Lithuanian

Release Date:

4 October 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Egy litván út emlékei See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Vaughan Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Connections

Referenced in A néni (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

Artificial intrusions in life
29 July 2013 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

This is too distanced to connect to me. Here's the gist. Mekas returns to his homeland of Lithuania after so long, visits his old mother and old friends from school. Some things have changed, others have stayed the same, the way it always is. He follows his old mother around trying to capture, from his end, an ordinary day: the sitting and walking, the work.

Primarily, the problem is that for Mekas the images are intimate and familiar, emotionally charged, had to be since he is revisiting childhood here. But this is conveyed in a casual, almost indifferent way, a New York artist's way which is what Mekas was at this point. We experience this all in the same desultory way, from a filmic distance.

We only see him once in the film before the camera, and that is a cold image where he simply feeds logs to a fire where his mother cooks pancakes. Maybe there's a Lithuanian element here that I'm not able to reach. So I don't get the deep experience of the return, I get a diaristic snapshot of Lithuanian life. I don't see the returning son here, only the formal filmmaker. It's cold, without embrace.

Mekas had a famous falling out with Cassavetes in the early days, for reasons of narrative form in Shadows. I can only imagine the warmth and ragged truth of the film Cassavetes, a Greek, would have made about his return to the place of childhood.

This is interestingly reflected in the film here. Mekas is returning with his camera, looking to capture a slice of remembered life and contrasts. What happens all through the film is that people in spite of his efforts awkwardly arrange themselves to be filmed: they sing around the camera, his cousin's family poses for a photo. The very presence of the artificial eye creates artifice, disrupts the living flow.

Cool tidbit: we see at one point Wittgenstein's house in Vienna, the one designed by him. It's an ugly, cold, square thing, fittingly for a logician. Austrians are thinkers, taxonomists in the big dance of things, and Mekas, if nothing else, wants to film outside the logical box. The film ends with images of Vienna in flames, a fruit market burning, because, Mekas muses, the city doesn't want it, it wants to clear room for something modern.


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