No figure appears more firmly rooted in both the American avant-garde and downtown New York than Jonas Mekas. Yet Lost Lost Lost tells a very different story, one of exile, displacement, and longing. It was completed in 1976 out of footage shot during an almost 15-year span, from his arrival in New York in 1949 (as a postwar Lithuanian refugee) to his engagement with the budding independent film scene of the early 1960s. Assembled in a rough chronology, the cinematography evolves along with Mekas' artistic community: The earliest scenes, taken in the immigrant enclave Williamsburg of cobbled streets, trolley tracks, and hand-lettered storefronts, echo the European art film of montage, while later moments shot in Manhattan and upstate sing with the expressive handheld camerawork of the New American Cinema. Frames flutter through anti-Vietnam War protests and cinematheque screenings, woodland romps and seaside pleasures.
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