Jonas in the Desert
Peter Sempel, known for Dandy and Just Visiting This Planet (shown at the 13th and 15th Mostra Film Festival respectively), has chosen underground director, poet, and intellectual Jonas Mekas for subject of his most recent documentary Jonas in the Desert.
In fact, Mekas had already taken part in Just Visiting This Planet singing a gipsy aria. Like Sempel's former work, Jonas in the Desert is not a documentary in the strictest sense of the word. Rather, it is a journey through the world of the artist - one of the exponents of independent U.S. movies; founder and director of the New York Anthology Film Archive - and captures his ideas, his creativity, and art.
In this way, he shows much of Mekas' personality and of his creative universe. Sempel brings together image and music, phrases and conversation, statements by many of the cultural icons such as Andy Warhol, Nam June Paik, Kenneth Anger, Allen Ginsberg, Yoko Ono, Al Pacino, Martin Scorcese, among others, and passages from Mekas' films. Sempel's style echoes throughout the work of the artist itself; nevertheless, it acts more as a complement than a mere tribute. The result is a precise expression of the essence of Jonas Mekas. In 1993, the 17th Mostra de Cinema held a Mekas in retrospect on film with ten of his films. Internet Movie Database
Cast Diahnne Abbott .... Herself Kenneth Anger .... Himself Jochen Arbeit .... Himself Stanley Bard .... Himself Blixa Bargeld .... Himself Peter Beard .... Himself Karen Black .... Herself Eileen Bowser .... Herself Stan Brakhage .... Himself Nick Cave .... Himself Merce Cunningham .... Himself Cora Fischer .... Herself Charles Ford .... Himself Henry Geldzahler .... Himself Allen Ginsberg .... Himself George Gund .... Himself Nina Hagen .... Herself Dustin Hoffman .... Himself Ken Jacobs .... Himself Tanya Khabarowa .... Herself Peter Kubelka .... Himself George Kuchar .... Himself Mike Kuchar .... Himself Francis Lee .... Himself Leo Letas .... Himself George Maciunas .... Himself Taylor Mead .... Himself Adolfas Mekas .... Himself Jonas Mekas .... Himself Sebastian Mekas .... Himself Paul Morrissey .... Himself Kazuó Ohno .... Himself Yoko Ono .... Herself Al Pacino .... Himself Nam June Paik .... Himself William Rice .... Himself (as Bill Rice) Martin Scorsese .... Himself Andy Warhol .... Himself (archive footage) Nick Zedd .... Himself (more)
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I haven't been able to see this film but someone who has says that Al is only in it for a minute shaking hands with Indie-Film-god Jonas Mekas at a screening of "Local Stigmatic".
Here is a biography of Jonas Mekas from a page on Lithuanian Cinema.
MEKAS Jonas (1922-) - Lithuanian cinematographer and poet, an emigrant in USA. He educated in the Institute of Cinema of New York College. Jonas Mekas is one of the initiators of anti-Hollywood New York's movement of independent vanguard cinema creators; one of the founders of magazine "Film Culture" (1954), on of the authors of "new cinema" manifest, cinema commentator of the newspaper "The Village Voice", the initiator of the foundation of cinema directors' co-operative for independent creators. Mekas has created a great deal of films using the camera for a fan. He does not see the difference between amateurishness and professionality, between documentary and acting: with the help of slips he "writes" his unique and very personal diary. His early films "The Guns of the Trees" (1961), "The Brig" (1964, the prize of Venice Film Festival), which Mekas created together with his brother Adolphas, are closer to the traditional cinematography. The late ones (like "Recollections from the Journey to Lithuania", 1971) are more experimental, based on very subjective filming technique. To the cinematographers of the world, Mekas is the cult figure of avant-garde cinema. In 1994, there was created a film about Mekas "Jonas in a desert". The young Lithuanian film directors Algimantas Maceina, Julius Žižliauskas-Ziz, Arūnas Matelis, Audrius Stonys, Artūras Jevdokimovas, Vytautas V.Landsbergis worked on probation for Mekas in New York. Bibliography:Jonui Mekui -- 70. V., żurn. "Kinas", 1992, Nr.9.
Currently unavailable on dvd or video.
Internet Movie Database