Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Lost, Lost, Lost [1976]

Filmmaking, apart from its ambitious, political and experimental possibilities, can be a deeply personal exercise as well; Lithuanian-American avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas championed that facet about cinema through his intensely personal stories where the subject, or at least the observer, was he himself. The sprawling, lyrical and beautifully melodic 3-hour “diary film” Lost, Lost, Lost – shot over an astonishing period of 14 years (from 1949 to 1963) using his 16-mm Bolex camera – was a complex, layered and kaleidoscopic chronicle of the incredible circle that may define the journey of an émigré, viz. the deep existential crisis upon leaving one’s homeland behind forever, settling into a place which is absolutely foreign not just geographically but more so culturally, the constant inner tussle, the eventual acceptance of one’s new habitat and finally a tentative assimilation into it. Mekas, along with his brother Adolfas, arrived in NY as a 27-year old “displaced person” in 1949, after the end of WWII, and settled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – no wonder, this area, with its diverse, vibrant and politically active emigrant population, formed a vital aspect of this 6-reel film, even though he spent only 4 years there before shifting base to Manhattan. Not just its temporal arc, its choice of subjects too was richly varied and was portrayed through grainy, brilliantly framed and spellbindingly captured B/W images of the city, its streets, its peoples, its social fabric, its multifarious political immersions and its simmering zeitgeist. The movie, accompanied with a score that ranged from classical to jazz, was laced with bold political splashes (angry protests to subversive stances), formal bravura, and absorbing personal revelations – loneliness, melancholia, reflections and friendships with the era’s bohemian and artistic crowd.

Director: Jonas Mekas
Genre: Avant-Garde/Diary Film/Documentary/Essay Film
Language: English
Country: US

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