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Shooting in a different medium


As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty
Jonas Mekas Film-maker
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That material goes almost 30 years back and during that period I had made several other films so I... I selected that there was some material that dealt more with the lives of others or attempts to recall some situations very objectively and keeping... trying to keep me completely out on these sort of views in cameras and cinema and trying to get to the essence of the situation. Okay, I thought, there's several weddings there in some of the films where ok, I had nieces, Jacob's birthday party so... birthday party, it's a... birthday party is a very, very special, you know, thing, birthday parties and I wanted to get to the sort of... in my own way, to get the essence of what a birthday and my friend... friend's birthday party is, trying to keep myself out. I'm not there in any other... and the... Actually, I have been... from 1960 there were situations like for instance snowing or winter situation where people are there in winter enjoying winter. That has been... I have been trying to get to that for, like, many years and... and not... and always, like: no, I did not really get it, I did not really get it until I really get it, and I know that that's it and now that's, you know, according to my childhood, you know, was snow and people there enjoying and having fun in snow. Then I don't... I'm not interested any more in filming that type of situation. That's it, I got it. And there are many other situations, scenes where I keep coming back to it until I feel, huh, I got it, that's it. That's it.

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.

Tags: As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty

Duration: 2 minutes, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 29 September 2010