Briefly: Adolfas Mekas

Thursday 23 June 2011 00:00
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Adolfas Mekas, who died on 31 May at the age of 85, was a member of the avant-garde New American Cinema movement of the 1960s and a professor of film at New York's Bard College.

Born in Lithuania, Mekas arrived in the US in 1949 after time spent in a Nazi concentration camp and later in displaced-persons camps in Germany, where he was able to study theatre arts and literature. He served as a still photographer in the US Army Signal Corps from 1951 to 1953. Mekas and his brother Jonas founded the journal Film Culture in 1954 and the Filmmakers' Cooperative, an independent distribution house owned by artists.

Mekas was associated with the Fluxus movement, taking part in the first Fluxus performance in 1961. He made several short films and then the comedy feature Hallelujah the Hills, which played at Cannes in 1963. Another feature, 1971's Going Home, and his brother's 1972 feature Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania, chronicled their first trip to their Lithuanian hometown since the end of the Second World War.

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