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As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty

"It's the ultimate Dogme movie, before the birth of Dogme," is how 79-year-old Lithuanian-born independent mainstay Jonas Mekas describes peaceful, enthralling assemblage encompassing home movie footage from last three decades of his life.

“It’s the ultimate Dogme movie, before the birth of Dogme,” is how 79-year-old Lithuanian-born independent mainstay Jonas Mekas describes peaceful, enthralling assemblage encompassing home movie footage from last three decades of his life. Length and style may deter pic’s prospects, but won’t inhibit auds bold enough to spend four hours and 48 minutes with the godfather of a key movement in the American avant-garde.

Divided into chapters of varying lengths and intercut with title cards announcing “life goes on,” “this is a political film” and the like, Mekas invites the viewer to share his love of his wife and children through the years as well as New York City in its various meteorological moods. Glimpses of avant-garde colleagues P. Adams Sitney, Hollis Frampton and others are mixed with views from his travels to Vermont, Italy, New Hampshire and Cape Cod. Tech credits are consistent with Mekas’ lifelong aesthetic of immediate, intimate filmmaking, composed and edited to convey the energy and love they give him. Title card actually reads “As I Moved Ahead…,” but, fittingly, filmmaker prefers the past continuous tense — a far more optimistic assessment of time’s passage.

As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty

Production: A Jonas Mekas production. (International sales, Jonas Mekas, c/o Anthology Film Archives, New York.) Produced, directed, written, edited by Mekas.

Crew: Camera (color, 16mm), Mekas; music, Auguste Varkalis; sound, Mekas. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum of New Cinema), Feb. 12, 2001. Running time: 288 MIN.

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