Jonas Mekas – Outtakes from the life of a happy man

Out-Takes from the Life of a Happy Man, Jonas Mekas
USA/UK, 2012, 68 min, 16mm&video, color, mono

“A motion picture composed of brief diaristic scenes not used in completed films from the years 1960-2000; and self-referential video footage taped during the editing. Brief glimpses of family, friends, girl-friends, the City, seasons of the year, travels. Occasionally I talk, reminisce, or play music I taped during those earlier years, plus more recent piano improvisations by Auguste Varkalis. It’s a kind of autobiographical, diaristic poem, celebration of happiness and life. I consider myself a happy man.” –J.M.

“In a film of amazing delicacy and poetic insight, Mekas celebrates the beauty of imperfect images…” –Amy Taubin

“OUT-TAKES starts with Mekas alone at night while the city sleeps, editing his old films. As he looks back over his life he starts to talk, insisting that his life’s work amounts to ‘just images, some fragments of this world’ that he will bring together for himself and a few friends. But as images of the people who brought joy into his life pass by, we realize that most of them are no longer alive. Mekas sees them again, but he is seeing them alone. As much as it is about his happy life, the film is also about emptiness, loss, and a longing for some sort of spiritual consolation. At one moment the cover of St John of the Cross’s MEDITATIONS appears on screen. This is Mekas’s long dark night of the soul.” – Richard Dorment, THE TELEGRAPH

« Dans ma salle de montage, il y a une étagère avec plein de boîtes de film qui remontent jusqu’aux années 1950. C’est du matériau lié à mon travail, de 1950 jusqu’aujourd’hui, mais qui n’a pas trouvé sa place dans mes films. En langage cinématographique, ce sont des chutes, des scènes coupées. Et elles sont toutes en train de s’effacer, doucement. Certaines ont déjà disparu. À l’occasion de mon exposition à la Serpentine, j’ai décidé qu’il était temps de rassembler tout ce matériau dans ce qui sera mon dernier film sur pellicule. Le résultat est ce que vous allez voir. Beaucoup d’images de ma vie de famille, de mes amis, de la ville, de la nature, de mes voyages en Lituanie. Toutes assemblées dans mon “ ordre ” hasardeux habituel. » –J.M.

DISCLAIMER: This film is available in SD resolution only, originating from an SD telecinema, the same source that Jonas Mekas used to edit and finish this project. Re:Voir is aiming to find the best video solutions for our expanding VOD catalogue in HD, however, in this case, the project was conceived as an SD video montage.