Reminiscence of a Journey to Lithuania
Jonas Mekas describes his feature, part of an ongoing personal journal, as follows:
“The film consists of three parts. The first part is made up of footage I shot with my first Bolex during my first years in America, mostly from 1950-1953. It shows me and my brother Adolfas, how we looked in those days; miscellaneous footage of immigrants in Brooklyn, picnicking, dancing, singing; the streets of Williamsburg.
“The second part was shot in August 1971, in Lithuania. Almost all of the footage comes from Semeniskiai, the village I was born in. You see the old house, my mother (born 1887), all the brothers, goofing, celebrating our home-coming; you see some of the places we used to know; you see some of the field work, and other insignificant details and memories. You don't really see how Lithuania is today: you see it only through the memories of a Displaced Person back home for the first time in twenty-five years.
“The third part begins with a parenthesis in Elmshorn, a suburb of Hamburg, where we spent a year in a forced-labor camp during the war. After the parenthesis closes, we are in Vienna where we see some of my best friends - Peter Kubelka, Hermann Nitsch, Annette Michelson, Ken Jacobs. You also see the Monastery of Kremsmuenster, the Stammdorff castle of Nitsch, the house of Wittgenstein, etc. The film ends with the burning of the Vienna fruit market, August 1971.
“The sound: I talk during much of the film, reminiscing about this and that. Mostly it's about myself, as a Displaced Person, my relation to Home, Memory, Culture, Up-rootedness, Childhood. There are a few Lithuanian songs sung by all of the Mekas brothers (my brother Adolfas and his wife, Pola, were with me on the same trip, and eventually you'll see Aldolfas' view of the same Journey, shot with his 16mm Bolex, and Pola's view shot with her 8mm Minolta). I use two songs sung by the Lithuanian Folk Ensemble conducted by P. Tamosaitis. The Preludes for a piano, by K.M. Ciurlionis, played by Vytautas Lanasbergis, are also used. In the third part I use Anton Bruckner (Mass N. 3 in F Minor) and a madrigal by Gesualdo (Deller Consort).”