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Jonas Mekas: Walden

Year: 1964-1969, 180 mins
Code: RV-Jonwal

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Diaries, Notes and Sketches - 1969 - 180'

Poet and hero of the American counter-culture, Jonas Mekas, born in Lithuania in 1922, invented the diary form of film-making. Walden, his first completed diary film, an epic portrait of the New York avant-garde art scene of the '60s, is also a groundbreaking work of personal cinema.

„In the forest of the Catholic Monastery of Admont in Austria a fir tree is felled and processed into planks of wood. By train, truck, boat and finally by hand, the stack is transported to a mysterious destination right in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest. The wooden planks’ trajectory corresponds to one of the central, raw materials trade routes, however in reversed direction of transport. The film is a meditative and subtle comment on the absurdity of the economic rationale that underlies our globalised world. Each sequence of shots corresponds to a stage in the process. By means of thirteen 360-degree shots, the Swiss filmmaker Daniel Zimmermann clears a paradoxical pathway into the logic of globalised trade routes.“ (production info)
„A luscious sensory experience, WALDEN takes us to 13 different stops on the journey from the forest through multiple cities, weather conditions, and modes of transportation, becoming more and more isolated. The film's meditative commentary suggests the absurdity of the economic rationale that fuels our globalized world—and through strange turns, it soon shows us we are not headed to the destination we expected.“
(Sundance Film Festival 2019)

“Since 1950 I have been keeping a film diary. I have been walking around with my Bolex and reacting to the immediate reality: situations, friends, New York, seasons of the year. On some days I shoot ten frames, on others ten seconds, still on others ten minutes. Or I shoot nothing.... Walden contains material from the years 1964-1968 strung together in chronological order.”

Jonas Mekas

Jonas Mekas’s films celebrate life. They rise up against the world’s overwhelming commercialism, attempting instead to revive the pleasures of friendship, a first snowfall or the return of Spring. Mekas’s genius stems from his generously including the viewer in his vision of the world, allowing us to (re)discover, in a simple image, the incredible force and necessity of poetry.”

Yann Beauvais

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