Saturday, February 17, 2007

Jonas Mekas: 365 Films

I'm a bit late on this, but glad I found it eventually: Jonas Mekas has a project. He's posting a new short film every day in 2007. The day it is posted it is free to download, after that they cost a modest $1.99. I mourn for all I've already missed, such as shorts documenting Ornette Coleman in studio, Ken Jacobs showing off his Nervous System projector, and endless other curiosities. You should rush over there today, though, as the short shows Jonas playing around with children's toys on the set of Scorsese's Departed, followed by an impressionistic glimpse of the scene where Ray Winstone burns down an apartment. Beautiful smoke!

There are a raft of other videos available for download: including shorts by Jim Jarmusch (starring Tom Waits!), Ken Jacobs, Kenneth Anger, Hans Richter, and tons more by Mekas. These cost a bit more at $5.99, but I think I'll soon buy the Jacobs film, "Pushcarts of Eternity Street", which just screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival - so I figure what I saved on plane fare justifies the monetary indulgence.

Mekas was one of the pioneers of the diaristic style taken up later by jokers like Nanni Moretti and Caveh Zahedi, exemplified by the wonderful Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972). It's the only film I've seen by him, so this website project is a gift from the cinema gods, as I've always adored his Village Voice column, a platform for unbridled enthusiasm and scorn. As J. Hoberman and many others have noted, his Voice work was a forerunner of our modest blogs. We owe him at least $1.99.

Also! He has an exhibition at PS1 going on right now! It's entitled "The Beauty of Friends Being Together Quartet". Along with a suite of films, look out for this:

"the exhibition also includes 40 portraits of friends selected from individual film frames, 40 stills from footage of New York City, and his recent 40 films made as an introduction for the podcast project 365 Films – one sequence shot each day of the year (also available on"

So we can all catch up on the 365 project. It's Mekas Mania!


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