I make home movies—therefore I live. I live—therefore I make home movies.
– Jonas Mekas
Jonas Mekas (1922–2019) was without a doubt the world’s foremost advocate for personal/poetic/underground/avant-garde cinema. Cinematheque closes its 2019 exhibition year with a rare screening of Mekas’ legendary Walden (1964–69). Ever the drifting romantic (even as he led a manic rabble-rousing life at the center of the ‘60s art world), Mekas’ introspective Walden is an epic (180-minute) tour-de-force of diaristic filmmaking, intimately embodying cinematic reaction to events of daily life—“situations, friends, seasons of the year”— in mid–late ‘60s New York City. Screening in 16mm, tonight’s program represents the first Bay Area screening of this major film in over twenty-five years.