It was the evening when Venus and Jupiter were perfectly aligned and reached its closest point to the human eye. I was getting ready for dinner with the “godfather” of American avant-garde cinema – Jonas Mekas. Filmmaker, poet and curator, Mekas is a living monument. He fled his native Lithuania at age 22, trying to avoid German arrest at home for anti-Nazi activities. During war, he spent time in various forced labor camps until immigrating to America in 1949. It was only in New York that he picked up his first camera, a Bolex, and ever since he’s been capturing “fragments of paradise” of the world around him. His diary films encompass a wide range of experiences and events, from his early experiences at the Warhol Factory to frenetic glimpses of a summer spent with Jackie Kennedy. He also co-founded The Anthology Film Archives, a cathedral of independent cinema housing over 70,000 historic avant-garde films.
In his numerous interviews and appearances, Jonas answered pretty much any question one can think of so it seemed redundant to take a formal interview as an approach. Instead, I abandoned any mental script of this encounter and tipsy with awe and wine I just sat back, watching and listening to Jonas and his “holy madness” unravel before me to the cadence of a meal.
Written, filmed and edited by Barbara Anastacio
Sound by Marcelo Oliveira