25 de junio de 2006

Movie Journal – Jonas Mekas



Ayer acabé de leer el Diario de Jonas Mekas. La serie de artículos publicados en el Village Voice durante los años 1959 y 1971 constatan la lucidez que desprenden sus análisis entorno al auge del New American Cinema, y en especial del cine experimental norteamericano. Su punto de vista es el del cineasta amateur (amante del cine como expresión personal), comprometido y agitador que despierta consciencias y desvela verdades. Dando la misma importancia a un film de tres minutos que a uno de noventa, defendiendo un cine alejado de convenciones y filtros retóricos, Mekas atrapa el lector haciendo una crónica de momentos cruciales en las filmografías de Stan Brakhage, Tony Conrad, Michael Snow, Harry Smith, Maya Deren, James Broughton y tantos otros. Haciendo duras críticas a periodistas cinematográficos de medios escritos y confrontando directamente el valor de otros especialistas como el denostado Parker Tyler o su aliado P. Adams Sitney, Mekas también deja espacio para tratar un cine de ficción o documental, menos radical: John Cassavetes, Norman Mailer, los hermanos Maysles o Robert Kramer.

19 comentarios:

  1. Yey! This is the best book ever. I love that Jonas Mekas uses poetry to describe the films.

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  2. Yes it is. It's incredible awesome how he describes the films by his own point of view. In fact he see the movies as poems written by filmmakers with their cameras.
    Like when Antonin Artaud talked about "cámera-stylo".
    For exemple his favourite movie of Bruce Baillie is only two or three minutes of travelling in a landscape...

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  3. Cinema-poetry! Visual Music!

    These are the kind of films I make too!

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  4. a nice book for reading in bed just before going to sleep. sometimes can be a little too naive and romantic but it functions just great when reading side by side with Tyler´s written masterpieces or Sitney´s analytical stiffness.
    "cámera-stylo" belongs to Alexandre Astruc, not A Artaud.

    --pm.

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  5. Oh sure what a mistake! Alexandre Astruc, who appeard in Joan of Arc of Carl T. Dreyer.
    Tyler masterpieces?
    What do you think about Scott MacDonald books?

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  6. This blog is a must, really.
    Has anybody seen the Drift DVD-book by Leah Singer and Lee Ranaldo? Maybe it would be interesting for all of you!

    Sergi
    from Barcelona, with sonic love

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  7. Astruc wrote that article and began to direct films; Artaud is, of course, the very famous poet-writer-playwriter who appeared in dreyer film.
    For me P. Tyler was an extremely gifted poet-writer-critic: Underground Film is excellent in his way -as an antidote to Mekas arbitrarity- as well as his Three Faces of the Film, Sex, Psyche & Etcetera and all of his collaborations to Film Culture.
    Of Scott MacDonald i´ve only read A Critical Cinema 2, Screen Writings and a few of his articles. he has good criteria for choosing his subjects.
    i also like Paul Arthur´s A Line of Sight very much.
    --pm

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  8. Thanks for your opinions. I know i must read A Line Of Sight, as well as the other book of Rees, A history of Experimental Cinema and Video.
    I recommend you to read The Garden in the Machine of Scott MacDonald, besides the A Critical Cinema collection (now in the number 5, I only owns the third and the fourth with interviews of Jordan Belson, Peter Kubelka, Sitney...).
    I don't think Underground Film is a good book at all, I think he writes about some themes without knowing enough of it. Is like Jean Mitry talking about experimental cinema, when what he knows is avant grade of the early decades.

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  9. Sure it would be interesting to see the Dirft dvd. I have seen few things of Lee Ranaldo in super 8, and it looks quite good.
    Neverthless I think is too expensive, the dvd.

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  10. thanks for your suggestions.
    I think one has to understand where a man comes from -and what has he done in the past- when reading someone. in the case of P.Tyler, a man who comes from the Surrealist tradition, this is crucial. although one could say that he "writes about some themes without knowing enough of it" his book is both influenced by his works as a surrealist poet and his aims to write a book about -and against, at certain point- the "Underground hip", the idea that everything new and "different" must be applauded without thinking it strongly supported by Mekas. he is more on the side of Amos Vogel than that of Mekas and his accolites. Tyler is a man of ideas regarding topics such as avant-garde film, hollywood inconscience or sex, not merely an analist of films (P.A. Sitney) or a propagandist (Mekas).
    i don´t have many hopes for Rees´ book, but recently got a copy of Stephen Dwoskin´s Film Is and it looks very good. also, how can i forget about it?, William c. Wees books are EXCELLENT, especially Recycled Images and Light Moving in Time. he as good as Peter Wollen.
    All the best. maybe next time we should start writing in spanish.

    --pm

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  11. Thanks P.Marin for your suggestions. The other day I bought the book Film Culture of P.Adam Sitney. I already have Light Moving In Time, but I haven't read it yet. Someone told me Film Is is a really great book.
    About Rees book, we can say that maybe is one of the few people who has try to write about experimental cinema of the eighties and nineties. We all asume that this topic has always looked like finished in the seventies.
    I didn'e know Tyler was a surrealist poet. I agree with you about knowing where a writter comes from.

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  12. you´re really devoted to experimental film literature, Albert. that´s getting more and more unussual as time goes by. i salute you for that. Film Culture Reader is very good but one could say that it covers only 3 to 5 percent of the articles published in that great magazine. it´s a must have. also by Sitney there´s The Avant-Garde Film: A Reader of Film & Criticism, an anthology that recollects texts, essays and manifestos by avant-garde filmmakers from the 20 to the late 70. it´s very good. this book topic could go on forever, it´s incredible.
    i´m starting a blog myself, i let you know when becomes available.

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  13. Nice to hear it! That you have started a blog, because i was waiting for it, if you are going to focus it in avant garde cinema or something near it. I mean i don't know where you came from, maybe from Frameworks that is a really good place, but for me too much disturbing (everyday a receive between ten and twenty mails by the peolpe subscrived there!).
    About the book topic i would like to ask you something: which are the books that talk about experimental cinema of the eighties, nineties and so on? Or that possible literature has going to the video art and cinema in the museum?

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  14. Albert, gracias por tus comentarios. soy de Buenos Aires, Argentina. el blog es laregioncentral.blogspot.com
    respecto a los libros, sí, gran parte de las publicaciones se han reacomodado hacia tópicos más "frescos" como videoarte, media, etc. y por otro lado, ya no hay libros como "visionary film" o "Film as a subversive art", sino más bien compendios de entrevistas a cineastas experimentales, historias que parten desde los 60 y dedican sus últimos capítulos a los 80 y 90 (A line of sight, es algo así) o artículos sueltos de autores al tanto y muy buenos como Ed halter, J. Hoberman, Peter Wollen, Scott Macdonald, Fred camper, Amy Taubin, Jack Sargeant, Steve James, etc. etc.
    hace poco se editó en austria un libro -bilingue creo- sobre Tscherkassky.

    --pm

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  15. Ah ya veo. Entonces has llegado aquí desde Framworks por el comentario que hice sobre Claudio Calidni, Daniela Cugliandolo y Ernesto Bacas! La película Samoa la vi en el festival l'Alternativa de aqui de Barcelona. Y lo otro sale de un Taller en super 8 que un amigo y yo organizamos hace un año en el que vino Daniela a dar una clase.
    El título de tu blob me parece muy bueno. No se si has visto el topic sobre Michael Snow. Estuvo aquí hace un par de meses y fue encantador, cenamos con él y le hicimos una película en super 8 (un paseo filmado simultaneamente por delante y por detrás) en el que iba colaborando, girándose y caminando al revés...
    Voy a visitar tu blog.
    Quizás falta literatura sobre Tscherkassky, Martin Arnold, Matthias Müller, Virgil Widrich, Agustin Gimel, Craig Baldwin...

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  16. Albert, leí tu post sobre Snow, parece una experiencia increíble. hace unos meses vinieron para el festival de cine independiente de buenos aires Jonas Mekas, Jim Mcbride y Mike Hoolboom -entre tantos-. pude entrevistarlos y pasar un buen rato con ellos. fue una gran experiencia. por lo que me contás Snow es una persona muy amable.
    quedamos en contacto para, en una de esas, intercambiar links a nuestros blogs.

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  17. Anónimo4:01 a. m.

    Este comentario ha sido eliminado por un administrador del blog.

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  18. Si... ese fue el libro que como estudiante me inspiró a buscar caminos que en la academia colombiana no hubiera podido encontrar y después me h acompañado mucho tiempo hasta que perdí mi copia.
    Agotado en cada librería trato de volver a tenerlo, a veces me siento a recordar artículos completos y cuando visito los anthology film archives acá en NYC, no sólo entro a cine, sino visito el lugar que Mekas logró hacer sagrado.
    Gracias por hablar de este gran libro, de este gran cineasta y de la misma forma que el lo hacía, mostrarle al mundo lo que nadie nos muestra.

    http://cinefiliaescrita.blogspot.com/

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  19. Anónimo8:02 p. m.

    Thank you so much for your siteI love everything about it.

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