Jonas Mekas’ BIRTH OF A NATION (1997) continues the filmmaker’s investigation into the possibilities of film-as-diary to offer glimpses of key figures of experimental cinema, including Stan Brakhage, Tony Conrad, and Michael Snow, compiled from footage shot over four decades. As far back as the masterpieces WALDEN (1969) and LOST, LOST, LOST (1976), Mekas has been turning his roaming camera on those around him, eschewing conventional documentary in favour of a more impressionistic, subjective engagement with his friends and surroundings. If Griffith’s film is often held up as marking the consolidation of Hollywood narrative cinema as the dominant film form both home and abroad, here Mekas proposes an alternative tradition of American filmmaking, the birth of another nation, another national cinema. Fred Camper describes this “nation” as “a network of almost invisible human connections,” while Mekas himself asks, “Why BIRTH OF A NATION? Because the film independence IS a nation in itself. We are surrounded by the commercial cinema nation the same way as the indigenous people of the United States or of any other country are surrounded by the Ruling Powers. We are the invisible, but essential nation of cinema. We are the cinema.” Additional cameos by P. Adams Sitney, Ken Jacobs, Harry Smith, Henri Langlois, Annette Michelson, Hollis Frampton, James Broughton, Kenneth Anger, Bruce Baillie, Chantal Akerman, Kurt Kren, Amy Taubin, Gregory Markopoulos, Ernie Gehr, Leni Riefenstahl, Paul Shrader, Peter Bogdanovich, Roberto Rossellini, Bruce Conner, Carolee Schneemann, Jacques Tati, Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, and scores more.
Music by Wagner and Hermann Nitsch. Voice by Jean Houston.
1.19GB | 1 h 20 min | 768×576 | mkv