Thursday, March 19, 2009

An article in the Believer on Jonas Mekas

"The then-seventy-eight-year-old filmmaker describes sitting in his editing room on the eve of the millennium and thinking about all of his departed friends. He ends the film with a close-up of his face, as he plays the accordion on the sound track and sings, 'I know nothing about life... I do not know where I am, but I know that I have experienced some brief moments of happiness.' The screen fades to black."


"In Walden, Mekas finds a metaphor for paradise regained. He acknowledges the impossibility of reaching paradise through both overt and subtle ways - for example, his frequent cutting to Thoreau's book open on a table, but with the camera so close to the pages that we can't read the words.

"Two-thirds of the way through the film, though, a group of smiling young people in bright red costumes marches through Central Park on stilts, as if part of a carnival. Mekas says in a voice over:

" 'And now, dear viewer, as you sit and watch, and as the life outside in the streets is still rushing... The images go. No tragedy, no drama, no suspense. Just images, for myself, and for a few others... These images, which I figure, as life will continue, won't be here for very long... this is Walden. This is Walden, what you see.' "

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