a masterclass with Sebastian Mekas and Francesco Urbano Ragazzi,
a sleepless night with Jonas Mekas's films
Friday, June 23, 2023, National Museum of Cinema, Viale Fulvio Testi 121, Milan.
11 am – 1 pm: Masterclass with Sebastian Mekas and Francesco Urbano Ragazzi.
11 pm – 6 am: Sleepless Night with Jonas Mekas’ films.
On Friday, June 23, Cineteca Milano in collaboration with the Lithuanian Culture Institute, presents a special day dedicated to the legendary filmmaker Jonas Mekas. The guest of honor will be Sebastian Mekas, the son of the artist and director of his archive. As part of Cinema Is Young! – the exhibition curated by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi in the halls of the National Museum of Cinema – the program will commence with a masterclass entitled Film Archives and conclude with Sleepless Night with Jonas Mekas, a marathon of nightly screenings that will end at dawn the next day. A collective breakfast will be served to all attendees.
The Film Archives masterclass will be held from 11 am to 1 pm in the theater of the National Museum of Cinema. It will feature Sebastian Mekas in a dialogue with the curatorial duo Francesco Urbano Ragazzi, focusing on the strategies involved in revitalizing archival heritages. Sebastian Mekas will provide insights into the work he is undertaking to preserve, disseminate, and activate his father’s cultural legacy, which encompasses a vast collection of works, documents, histories, theories, and images from his extensive diaristic production. Special attention will be given to the recent relocation of Mekas’ studio from Brooklyn, New York City, to the spaces of Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. The second part of the masterclass will delve into the exhibition activities taking place in museum and gallery spaces, carrying forward the pioneering path in film expansion initiated by Mekas in the 1960s. Francesco Urbano Ragazzi will offer an in-depth exploration of the current exhibition at the National Museum of Cinema, as well as the various exhibition projects that the duo has curated alongside Jonas and Sebastian Mekas.
The program continues into the nighttime, commencing at 11 p.m., with Sleepless Night with Jonas Mekas, a captivating marathon of moving images that will be showcased on the grand screen on the terrace of the National Museum of Cinema until 6 a.m. the following day. The night’s schedule features the screening of As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (Jonas Mekas, USA, 2000, 288′), a masterpiece of independent cinema that spans twelve chapters. Like a testament, the film navigates Jonas Mekas’ work on film into the first lights of the third millennium. Following that, the audience will enjoy Sleepless Nights Stories (Jonas Mekas, USA, 2011, 114′), a movie in which Mekas transfers his film diary into the digital realm, prefiguring the concept of “story” before the advent of social networks. The narrative takes a back seat to a chorus of portraits featuring an array of surprising friends of the Lithuanian filmmaker, including Raimund Abraham, Marina Abramovic, Thomas Boujut, Louise Bourgeois, Louis Garrel, Björk, Harmony Korine, Patti Smith, and many others.