For two hours (or more) we stroll with Jonas Mekas through New York nights, through apartments, studios, backstage rooms, galleries, bars and clubs. We meet old acquaintances like Ken and Flo Jacobs, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Carolee Schneemann, Marina Abramovic, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Pip Chodorov, friends, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and we also make many new acquaintances.
The father of the diary film begins a film with the words “I can’t sleep”. Who hasn’t been in this situation: you lie awake in bed until you finally give up, get up, get dressed and go out. Sleepy and yet wide awake at the same time, you find yourself in the world of those exhausted from the day’s exertions, the drunk, the relaxed, the dancing, the brooding, the mourning, the pensive, the partiers. In Sleepless Nights Stories, Jonas Mekas dives into a time vacuum. We witness (approximately) 25 stories from a thousand and one nights, and it becomes increasingly unclear whether we really did get up and go out – or whether what we’re seeing are remnants of the day that we’re remembering, or remnants of films by one of the greatest avant-garde filmmakers whose life wrote film history. –Berlinale
Jonas Mekas was born in 1922 in Semeniskiai, Lithuania. He currently lives and works in New York. In 1944, Jonas Mekas and his brother, Adolfas, were taken by the Nazis and imprisoned in a forced labor camp in Nazi Germany for eight months. After the War, he studied philosophy at the University of Mainz from 1946-48 and at the end of 1949, he emigrated with his brother to the U.S. settling in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York. Two weeks after his arrival, he borrowed the money to buy his first Bolex 16-mm camera and began to record moments of his life. He discovered avant-garde film at venues such as Amos Vogel’s pioneering cinema 16, and he began screening his own films in 1953. He has been one of the leading figures of American avant-garde filmmaking or the “New American Cinema,” as he dubbed it in the late ‘50s, playing various roles: in 1954, he became editor and chief of Film Culture; in 1958 he began writing his “Movie Journal” column for the Village Voice; in 1962 he co-founded… read more
different encounters, small dialogues, night time. he can't sleep because of the jetlag, he says. the jetlag, as a condition of life. his house is in a mess, full of boxes, his life is in a box, he says... i loved this film because of this declaration of intimacy. because it's so authentic, personal and you are carried away with him, inside his world, inside his restlessness...
I bought a ticket for this, as it was part of the BFI Film Festival, but the trains to London were messed up so I couldn't go. Might kill myself tbh.
In our annual poll, we pair our favorite new films of 2011 with older films seen in the same year to create fantastic double features.
From Jonas Mekas comes a peripatetic nocturnal diary bound thematically by invocations of Dante, The Arabian Nights and Japanese haiku.