An Open Letter to NYC: Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania


Jonas Mekas, 1974, 88 min
Divided into three parts, this landmark diary film by the great Jonas Mekas documents a trip to his ancestral village of Semeniskiai, Lithuania after twenty-five years of exile in the United States. Preceded, in the first part, by impressions of the Williamsburg where Mekas first settled as a refugee, and succeeded, in the second, by a visit with friends and colleagues in Vienna, significantly the trip home itself occupies only the work’s middle part, comprised of “100 glimpses of Lithuania,” fleeting, literally numbered, and all the more indelible for it.

Q&A with Jonas Mekas and reception to follow with Eastern European food.

This program is part of An Open Letter to NYC:
Immigrant Documentary Filmmakers and Their Films
Starting with the periods before, during, between, and after the two world wars through to the present day, the American film industry would not exist without the immigrant filmmaker. In fact all contemporary American art and media, including the current documentary renaissance, is enlivened by and rooted in the modern immigrant experience. An Open Letter takes stock in immigrant, refugee and expatriate documentary filmmakers and/or documentary films about immigration and pays special attention to filmmakers from dominant and emerging NYC populations including those of Caribbean, Eastern European, Latin American, South and East Asian, Middle Eastern and West African descent. Programmed by Jessica Green and Edo Choi.

This series is supported by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) as part of the 2016 Immigrant Cultural Initiative.