|REMINISCENCES OF A JOURNEY TO LITHUANIA (director: Jonas Mekas; cinematographer: Jonas Mekas; editor: Jonas Mekas; cast: Peter Kubelka, Annette Michelson, Daniel Rogosin; Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jonas Mekas; Vaughan Films; 1972)|
|"Moving personal odyssey documentary."
by Dennis Schwartz
filmmaker Jonas Mekas ("My Mars Bar
Movie"/"Happy Birthday to John"/"A Letter From
Greenpoint") puts together from his collected footage
a documentary in three parts. It begins with footage
from his adoptive Brooklyn hometown in 1950. It
features displaced persons from Lithuania feeling
awkwardly out of place in their new American homeland
at Stony Brook, L.I. and as immigrants living in
Williamsburg, a summer picnic of immigrants on
Atlantic Avenue, a hike in the Catskill Mountains and
the adjustment of Jonas and his brother Adolfas
to life in America. They were released from a Nazi
labor camp in Hamburg after the war. It jumps to 1971
to show life in his agrarian village
hometown of Semeniskiai, Lithuania. His mom and
extended family and childhood friends living and
working on a large Communist commune. His independent
country was given to the Russians after the war at the
Yalta Conference. In the third part he visits
the Hamburg site of the labor camp where he was
imprisoned and Vienna, with fellow filmmaker Peter
Kubelka, who goes back to his hometown to visit a
200-year-old monastery and feed the pigeons in the
park. It ends with a tremendous fire, as the old
market place was set on fire by those who wanted a
modern one in Vienna.
moving personal odyssey documentary, showing home
movies mostly made on a Bolex camera, clarifies for
the filmmaker his evolution and tests his memory of
places that meant a lot to him in the past. The
heavily accented Jonas acts as narrator.
film is part of the National Film Registry.
REVIEWED ON 1/29/2016 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ