“As I was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty” - Memories of Our Life


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“As I was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty”

Director Jonas Mekas provides an intimate glimpse of his personal life by constructing a feature length narrative from over 30 years of private home movie footage.

Old photos, keepsakes and artifacts that tie us to our past, an event or moment in time. We all have them, and we are loath to part with them. I have mine from my youth. Recently after my mother’s death I received 5 or so albums of old photos of family members from back in the 1920’s -1960’s. Although I could remember some people and some events much was lost to me. We get nostalgic and sometimes sad as we look back. Our life is brief and goes fast and the end of our lives on this earth is closer than we know. The past is unlivable, it is gone. Right now, in the present the past is taking birth. Memories are being made.

The Golden moments of life are not all in the past.

As we get older, we have a sense within us of how things used to be and we find within us a constellation of feelings, thoughts, remembrances, and nostalgia about the people, places, events, and values that have shaped us.

Providence, not happenstance, gets the first and last word in global, national, and personal events. There’s no panic in heaven, only peace—no lapse in your memory, just the perfection of your timing. You are working in all things for our good, and God’s glory.

A certain smell evokes a specific moment of the past. A day with your parents in the flower market returns to your memory when you notice the smell of fresh flowers, or when a perfume reminds you of a person remarkably close to you in the past. Remembering everything is impossible since our memory does not work like an infinite video camera or a computer.

A lot of fantastic memories of our life, especially of our childhood, are being buried deep in our memory and, over time, we must discern whether it is a real experience, or an imaginary one.

Photos are our best resource, and are gold for our children. If we were fortunate enough to have parents who are fond of photography (like mine), and we have been somewhat organized ourselves, it is possible that we will have an invaluable treasure called photo albums sitting on a shelf or in a box. Get together with your family members, look at the old photos and smile, discuss and yes even cry.

Most of the memories we have of our childhood come from photographs, and the same happens with moments that have provided us enjoyment throughout our youth and adulthood that, although perceived as important at the time, they tend to get blurry and fade away. Do you remember all the barbecues or picnics with your friends? Every exam you have passed or failed?

Perhaps someday in the far flung future of eternity God will allow us access to all our memories or perhaps they will be readily accessible to us once we die and reach our Lord’s presence.

Until then its ok to remember!


Video from Louisiana Channel


The godfather of American avant-garde cinema, filmmaker and poet Jonas Mekas (b.1922 - d.2019), whom we met in his Brooklyn-home, has a clear piece of advice for aspiring filmmakers: “Don’t go to film school. Get a camera.” If you have the necessary funds, film school is a nice place to meet like-minded people and make friends. Apart from that, it makes more sense to look into the specific things that you take special interest in – such as lenses – rather than to simply study everything: “Why do you need everything? Maybe you’ll never need it for what you want to do.” Jonas Mekas (b.1922 in Lithuania - d.2019) is an experimental filmmaker and poet. He has filmed artists such as Andy Warhol and Allen Ginsberg, and his movies include ‘The Brig’ (1963) – which won him the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival the same year –, ‘Walden’ (1969), ‘Lost Lost Lost’ (1975), ‘Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol’ (1990), ‘As I was Moving Ahead I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty’ (2000) and ‘Sleepless Night Stories’ (2011). Since 2000, he has expanded his work into the area of film installations, exhibiting at prominent venues such as the Serpentine Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Moderna Museet, PS1 Contemporary Art Center MoMA and the Venice Biennale. Mekas is also responsible for the legendary Movie Journal (from 1958) in the Village Voice, and in 1964 he founded the Filmmakers’ Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world’s largest and most important repositories of avant-garde cinema and screening venue. Moreover, he is one of the co-founders of New American Cinema Group. Mekas currently lives and works in New York City. For more about him see: www.jonasmekas.com Jonas Mekas was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg in his home in Brooklyn, New York in November 2014. Camera: Pierce Jackson Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015." from video introduction.


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