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Good health

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Jonas Mekas Film-maker
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During all my school life I never missed a single day. I feel sick or not sick, no matter how sick, I went, nobody could stop me from going to school. And I always got only the highest. Very, very, very seldom, the system there was from one to five; I always went though all the schools with fives, maybe through the whole school period I had maybe three or four times when I had five minus or four plus. That means I was a very, very good student - I don't know why. But it was very easy for me because I had read already everything that they were teaching me there in school, that I read before. It's, in a strange way, now Sebastian, my son, is doing the same because he has read and done everything before, you know, he went to Cambridge and Cornell and he's zooming like it's nothing to him, and again with the best grades and nothing else. It is, it is maybe this obsession with, with, when I was already in, like in the second grade, I had read third and fourth grade, you know, I went through that so it was like nothing and that's one of the- yes, I was I was very good in school, so what can you do about that!

Jonas Mekas (1922-2019), Lithuanian-born poet, philosopher and film-maker, set up film collectives, the Anthology Film Archive, published filmzines and made hundreds of films, all contributing to his title as 'the godfather of American avant-garde cinema'. He emigrated to America after escaping from a forced labour camp in Germany in 1945.

Listeners: Amy Taubin

Amy Taubin is a contributing editor for "Film Comment" magazine and "Sight and Sound" magazine. Her book, "Taxi Driver", was published in 2000 in the British Film Institute's Film Classics series. Her chapter on "America: The Modern Era" is part of "The Critics Choice" published by Billboard Press, 2001, and her critical essays are included in many anthologies, mostly recently in "Frank Films: The Film and Video Work of Robert Frank" published by Scalo.

She wrote for "The Village Voice" weekly from 1987 into 2001 both as a film and a television critic. She also wrote a column for the "Village Voice" titled "Art and Industry" which covered American independent filmmaking. Her first weekly film criticism job was at the "SoHo Weekly News". Her writing has also appeared in "Art Forum", the "New York Times", the "New York Daily News", the "LA Weekly", "Millennium Film Journal", "US Harpers Bazaar" and many other magazines. She is a member of the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Online.

She started her professional life as an actress, appearing most notably on Broadway in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie", and in avant-garde films, among them Michael Snow's "Wavelength", Andy Warhol's "Couch", and Jonas Mekas' "Diaries, Notebooks and Sketches".

Her own avant-garde film, "In the Bag" (1981) is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Friends of Young Cinema Archives in Berlin.

She was the video and film curator of "The Kitchen" from 1983-1987.

She has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from N.Y.U. in cinema studies. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts in both the undergraduate and the MFA graduate programs, and lectures frequently at museums, media centers, and academic institutions. In 2003, she received the School of Visual Arts' art historian teaching award.

Duration: 1 minute, 48 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008