Few if any figures in the history of New York City film culture have left as large a mark as that of the Lithuanian filmmaker, critic, and poet Jonas Mekas. Rising to notoriety in the 1950s and ’60s as a champion of and mouthpiece for the New American Cinema, he founded and presided over such stalwart fixtures of the underground and avant-garde film scenes as Film Culture magazine, the Filmmakers’ Cinematheque, the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and Anthology Film Archives. But he was also one of the 20th century’s most vital film artists, a master cine-diarist and something like a present-tense historian who documented the particulars of emigrant life in New York City. His immense oeuvre, produced across seven decades, encompasses rapturous tone poems that exalt the quotidian and transfixing portraits of the legendary artists in his orbit. Join us for a selection of Mekas’s most essential film and video works. This series is presented in conjunction with Jonas Mekas: The Camera Was Always Running, a major exhibition of his work on view at the Jewish Museum from February 18 through June 5, 2022.

Tickets now available!

In conjunction with FLC’s retrospective, Jonas Mekas: The Camera Was Always Running, on view at the Jewish Museum from February 18 through June 5, 2022, is the first U.S. museum survey of the Lithuanian-born filmmaker, poet, critic, and institution-builder who helped shape the avant-garde in New York City and beyond. The exhibition coincides with the centennial of Mekas’s birth and surveys his 70-year career. It includes 11 films, photography, and previously unseen archival materials that explore the breadth and import of Mekas’s life, art, and legacy in the field of the moving image. During the late stages of World War II, in 1944, Mekas was forced to flee his native Lithuania and was unable to return until 1971. The relationship between exile and creativity is always at the heart of his work and will be the exhibition’s central theme. Jonas Mekas: The Camera Was Always Running is organized by guest curator Kelly Taxter, with Kristina Parsons, the Leon Levy Curatorial Assistant at the Jewish Museum.

Organized by Dennis Lim and Dan Sullivan. Co-presented with the Jewish Museum.