“I live, therefore I make films,” Jonas Mekas once said, riffing on Descartes. “I make films, therefore I live.” Because he did both for so long, it seemed to me that he would, could, keep doing both forever. But Mekas, a filmmaker, poet, philosopher, evangelist and one of life’s tireless adventurers, died Wednesday at 96. Trying to measure his influence on American cinema is difficult because it was so profound. Titans like Louis B. Mayer helped build Hollywood; Robert Redford created Sundance, the industry’s pliable alternative. Mekas sought to free cinema.
Mekas rallied for cinema’s independence long before there was a Sundance and all the American indie rest. In 1960, he put that fight into a manifesto, “Cinema of the New Generation,” which he published in Film Culture, the landmark magazine that he and his brother, Adolfas, helped found. The modern world, Mekas argued, had created humans who needed a cinema that was modern in its style, subject and temperament. Like the greatest manifestoes, this one breathes fire. He decried the “long-dead styles and approaches” of official cinema and “the insincerity, the pose and the business way of life that seeps through Hollywood films.” Can I hear an amen?
[Read the New York Times obituary of Jonas Mekas.]
His touchstone was the French New Wave, which, Mekas recognized, had been influenced by an earlier generation of directors like Howard Hawks and Roberto Rossellini. Shaking loose of familiar film forms, these directors infused their work with a “spontaneous, even haphazard flow” and details that didn’t necessarily serve the plot but created “a live, natural and fluent quality.” In the new “cinema of the author,” what mattered was “HOW it is said and by WHOM” — the style that conveys modernity. These were films imprinted with the personality of their creators, which sounds like Mekas’s version of what his colleague Andrew Sarris called the auteur theory.
In his manifesto, Mekas put the cinema of liberation in the larger context of a modern art that emphasized aesthetic form but also real life. He saw the same glimmers of new-wave freedom in two American films: “Shadows,” the debut feature from John Cassavetes, a foundational figure in American independent cinema (Mekas only championed the original one-hour “Shadows”), and “Pull My Daisy,” from the artist Alfred Leslie and the photographer-filmmaker Robert Frank. A mischievous blast, “Pull My Daisy” isn’t about anything, really, just life and the spontaneous combustion created by a railroad worker (the artist Larry Rivers), his wife (Delphine Seyrig) and a ragtag group of interlopers played by, among others, the poet Allen Ginsberg.
Mekas wrote that “Pull My Daisy” could be seen as a Beat film, but he saw it more rightly as “a portrait of the inner condition of an entire generation,” work that was representative of what he anointed the New American Cinema. His observations about “Daisy” — like his praise for spontaneous, haphazard cine-flow and the freed camerawork of the avant-garde deity Stan Brakhage — point to the artistic direction that Mekas would embrace. His early movies, like “The Brig,” a drama with actors, were part of an effort to create an alternative to the studios. Over the years Mekas moved away from “the conventional, dead, official cinema” to personal film, an evolution traceable in his writing for The Village Voice, where he was a movie columnist.
In time, he found his voice while he continued advocating for a free cinema. He showcased avant-garde film, fought censors (he was arrested) and helped create an alternative infrastructure, like the artist-run distributor the Film-Makers’ Cooperative. His own film output was vast and, at times, sublime. The monumental “Walden” (1969) — “diaries, notes and sketches” divided into sections totaling 180 minutes — is a slipstream of images of people and places interspersed with blasts of music and noise, written fragments and voice-overs. Filled with tremulous beauty, the film is — as Thoreau wrote of his “Journal” — a record of joy and ecstasy.
Mekas’s “Walden” makes for hypnotic watching partly because you can feel his imprint throughout, in bits of text, the quavering hand-held images and a voice that, in moments, reminds me of Andy Kaufman’s Latka on the TV show “Taxi.” Created from footage that Mekas shot over five years, this self-described film diary is filled with quotidian loveliness: a traveling shot of a New York sunrise taken from a train, a woman’s upturned head bathed in sunlight. And always there are Mekas’s friends — so many friends — the famous and the now-forgotten laughing, eating, getting married and making art while living ordinary lives teeming with playing children, wandering animals and all the blooming, buzzing rest.
I met Mekas in the late 1980s after I started writing for The Voice about avant-garde cinema. He recognized that my last name is Lithuanian, which obviously amused him. He was a vibrant, persistent presence whether in the audience at a screening or at Anthology Film Archives, the cinematheque he co-founded. Over the years, I wrote about his work and in 2005 interviewed him just before he left for the Venice Biennale, where he represented Lithuania. He was 82, filled with plans and, he animatedly confided, in love. Later, I sent him a newspaper article about the ship, the General Howze, that brought him to the United States.
He was 26 when he and Adolfas landed in New York in 1949 along with 1,352 other displaced persons. The brothers moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Jonas worked in manufacturing in Long Island City. He visited museums, got fired, struggled, watched “The Blood of a Poet,” bought a Bolex 16-millimeter camera. “In Hollywood, it’s much simpler: it’s done with money,” he wrote in 1950. “But we are trying to do it with our own last miserable pennies.” People said that the cinema made him mad. “But today, if you don’t want to sell yourself for money and work work work,” he wrote, and if you dreamed of being an artist, you had to become mad.B:
灵宝人中特斯拉“【啊】，【湜】【梅】【涟】！” 【芝】【後】【啲】【谈】【話】【沒】【冇】【超】【绌】【梅】【涟】【啲】【噫】【料】【芝】【迯】，【菓】【燃】【苩】【厷】【宔】【又】【湜】【洇】【沩】【恏】【奇】【乱】【跑】【孒】【绌】【來】，【洏】【且】【還】【忘】【记】【孒】【佪】【呿】【啲】【路】。 【厷】【宔】……【眀】【眀】【冇】【著】【哪】【麽】【绌】【眾】【啲】【仂】【量】，【泹】【沩】【甚】【麽】【总】【湜】【傻】【兮】【兮】【啲】【呢】？ 【梅】【涟】【稍】【嶶】【恠】【吣】【衶】【诽】【谤】【孒】【壹】【丅】【它】【啲】【圣】【朱】【月】，【侞】【菓】【哪】【卫】【夨】【亼】【恠】【造】【钕】【儿】【啲】【時】【葔】【稍】【嶶】【认】【眞】【點】，【僦】【吥】【浍】【冇】【它】【現】【恠】【啲】【沩】【難】【孒】。
“【兄】【弟】，【听】【说】【了】【没】，【历】【史】【系】【来】【了】【个】【牛】【人】…” “【哎】【呀】，【我】【今】【天】【是】【开】【眼】【了】，【这】【哥】【们】【牛】【逼】【啊】，【一】【个】【人】，【搭】【配】【四】【大】【美】【女】。” “【是】【啊】，【我】【靠】，【连】【我】【们】【龙】【海】【最】【年】【轻】【的】【白】【富】【美】，【都】【被】【拐】【跑】【了】，【我】【滴】【心】【脏】【啊】！” 【整】【个】【龙】【海】【大】【学】，【几】【千】【学】【子】，【都】【在】【讨】【论】【这】【神】【秘】【的】【牛】【人】【哥】。 【话】【说】，【这】【货】【是】【阿】【拉】【伯】【国】【籍】【吗】？ 【找】【了】【四】【个】【老】【婆】，
【彼】【时】【还】【在】【正】【月】【之】【中】，【陈】【就】【学】【没】【有】【回】【乡】，【只】【在】【京】【都】【租】【赁】【的】【宅】【子】【里】【闲】【住】。 【他】【的】【妻】【儿】【俱】【已】【上】【京】，【父】【母】【又】【已】【谢】【世】。【醉】【里】【不】【知】【身】【是】【客】，【只】【把】【他】【乡】【当】【故】【乡】！ 【这】【日】，【陈】【就】【学】【正】【在】【书】【房】【里】【看】【书】，【只】【听】【得】【外】【头】【的】【家】【下】【人】【来】【报】：“【老】【爷】，【外】【头】【有】【个】【自】【称】【是】【顺】【来】【茶】【社】【的】【东】【家】，【商】【人】【模】【样】【的】【求】【见】。” 【顺】【来】【茶】【社】？ 【陈】【就】【学】【放】【下】【了】【手】【里】灵宝人中特斯拉【马】【小】【玲】【悲】【伤】【的】【看】【着】【金】【正】【中】，【强】【忍】【住】【悲】【哀】：“【你】【放】【心】，【一】【定】【不】【会】【有】【事】【的】，【我】【先】【用】【冰】【封】【符】【冰】【封】【住】【你】，【以】【后】【一】【定】【会】【有】【办】【法】【的】！” “【你】【不】【是】【说】【冰】【封】【符】【没】【用】【吗】?【师】【傅】?“【金】【正】【中】【抬】【起】【头】，【看】【着】【马】【小】【玲】，【眼】【神】【里】【闪】【过】【希】【望】【的】【光】【芒】。 “【对】【魔】【星】【没】【用】，【对】【你】【也】【许】【会】【有】【用】！“【说】【完】【马】【小】【玲】【就】【拿】【出】【一】【道】【符】【咒】【贴】【在】【了】【金】【正】【中】【的】【脑】【袋】【上】。【金】
【第】755【章】【神】** 【这】【时】【候】【看】【着】【这】【个】【弟】【弟】，【申】【秋】【知】【道】【了】，【以】【后】【不】【能】【随】【便】【叫】【人】【姐】【姐】【妹】【妹】【的】，【因】【为】【会】【应】【验】【的】！【好】【好】【一】【个】【皇】【家】【弟】【子】【生】【生】【变】【成】【自】【己】【的】【弟】【弟】，【他】【若】【醒】【过】【来】，【也】【有】【了】【前】【世】【的】【记】【忆】【的】【话】，【知】【道】【自】【己】【居】【然】【成】【了】【一】【个】【升】【斗】【小】【民】？【不】【知】【道】【会】【不】【会】【有】【心】【理】【落】【差】，【留】【下】【个】【心】【理】【阴】【霾】【来】，【就】【真】【是】【自】【己】【的】【阴】【功】【了】！ 【也】【怪】【不】【得】【他】【看】【到】
“【到】【也】【没】【什】【么】【要】【买】【的】，【只】【是】【在】【府】【里】【待】【的】【有】【些】【没】【趣】，【所】【以】【就】【出】【来】【看】【看】，”【萧】【伶】【然】【说】【着】【有】【些】【不】【好】【意】【思】，“【伶】【然】【回】【来】【不】【久】，【京】【都】【的】【小】【姐】【们】【也】【认】【识】【不】【了】【几】【位】，【所】【以】，【就】……” 【她】【说】【着】【有】【些】【不】【好】【意】【思】【的】【笑】【了】【笑】。 【楚】【凌】【霄】【了】【然】【的】【点】【点】【头】：“【萧】【姑】【娘】【随】【萧】【将】【军】【回】【来】【的】【时】【间】【不】【长】，【不】【认】【得】【也】【是】【自】【然】，” 【他】【说】【着】【环】【顾】【了】【下】【周】【围】【的】
【不】【知】【为】【何】，【看】【到】【这】【一】【幕】【的】【王】【厍】【心】【里】【忽】【然】【产】【生】【一】【种】【难】【以】【言】【喻】【的】【孤】【独】【感】【和】【恐】【惧】。 【对】，【身】【为】【原】【天】【帝】【的】【王】【厍】【居】【然】【产】【生】【了】【恐】【惧】。 【这】【种】【内】【心】【惶】【惶】【然】【的】【感】【觉】，【应】【该】【就】【是】【恐】【惧】【了】【吧】？ 【上】【次】【这】【种】【感】【觉】，【还】【是】【自】【己】【没】【有】【接】【触】【到】【修】【炼】【的】【时】【候】，【看】【到】【天】【上】【划】【过】【的】【御】【剑】【修】【士】【大】【战】【接】【近】【自】【己】【这】【边】【的】【时】【候】，【那】【时】【候】【的】【自】【己】【手】【无】【缚】【鸡】【之】【力】，【如】【果】