Jonas Mekas (1922-2019)

[Jonas Mekas (1922-2019) – photo: Ludo Segers]

Jonas Mekasthe Lithuanian-born American filmmaker, poet, and archivist, “the godfather of American avant-garde cinema” died this morning. He was 96.

Anthology Film Archives announced the news on Instagram

and here’s the announcement on Twitter

“His output”, as the obituary writer of Artforum noticed, “which spans seven decades and even more films, along with over twenty books of prose and verse and innumerable mentorships, has inspired generations of filmmakers, writers, and audiences. His films and archival material have exhibited widely throughout the world… His numerous awards include a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture…” He was singularly and internationally renowned. The numerous obituaries are just beginning to come in. Here‘s Alex Greenberger’s obituary in Art News.  Here‘s the New York Times here‘s the Washington Post, here‘s The Guardian, here‘s Le Monde, here‘s El Pais.  Jonas’ international reputation is unparalleled.  There will be many more to come.

His relationship with Allen was a long-standing one (We’ll note in passing, his “Scenes From Allen’s Last Three Days on Earth As A Spirit” (1997).

and here, from 2009, at the St Mark’s Poetry Project, Jonas (following a reading of a translation of Rilke), recounts the story of the preservation of Allen’s beard!

We’ve featured Jonas on The Allen Ginsberg Project several times before. There’s this (Jonas’ 1966 footage of Allen chanting Hare Krishna) and this (an intime version of Allen chez Jonas singing “Airplane Blues“), and this (from Jonas Mekas’ Video Diary, October 1987)

A monumental and historic passing –   gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā,

[Allen Ginsberg – photo by Jonas Mekas from his recently-published scrapbook, A Dance With Fred Astaire] ]

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