a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


A prodigy in the making


Growing up close to Nature
Jonas Mekas Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I grew up very much in Nature because we... somebody had to take care of the farm and somebody else, some younger children always, have to take care of the cattle, that is cows and sheep and, during the summer, so we would have to get up very early, like 6:00am, when the sun rises, we get up and take the cattle into the fields and when the sun sets you bring them back into the barn. So, I spent usually like four or five months every year in the fields and outdoor, so it's very, very well in the field, the outdoor, Nature is very well, very much in me and that's when we come to Walden, of course.

[Q] Where, which... you were the youngest child, the oldest child, the middle child, or what?

I was the fifth. Adolfas my brother is the sixth and the last one, so I was one before the last. So, my older brothers already had to work, do the fieldwork and I had to take care of my younger brother - Adolfas is 3 years younger - and the cattle, the...

[Q] And what kind of school did you go to?

I went to the school where... the primary school, which was like 4 km from my home. I think I was nine when I went to school because for at least two years, my family could not permit me to go to school because somebody had to take care of the, of the cattle.

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: Jonas Mekas, Adolfas Memas

Duration: 2 minutes, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008