Gideon Bachmann

F., M.: Gideon Bachmann. Int.: Gideon Bachmann (voce fuori campo). Titoli (disegni) e materiale di montaggio: Jonas Mekas. Prod.: Bayerischennn Fernsehens. DCP. D.: 32’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

A short but dense journey into the creative universe of Jonas Mekas, a mini-manifesto on Mekas the man and on his way of making underground cinema, which is – to use his own words spoken in the film – “in no way important, totally playful, and realisable with just a few dollars’-worth of film”. It is a language all of his own, to which he has always remained faithful, chosen because writing poems in Lithuanian was no longer enough; he needed a means of addressing a larger and more diverse audience. A surprising montage film, constantly in dialogue with the off-screen space and with a rhapsodic soundtrack (Velvet Underground and others). A film also about New York in 1968, with space for material shot by Mekas himself as well as Bachmann’s images of him ‘dancing’ with his Bolex camera in Central Park in pursuit of squirrels, or exiting the famous Chelsea Hotel, while talking to Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer, or with Shirley Clark, while participating in and filming anti-Vietnam demonstrations…

With this film, Bachmann and Mekas, who first met in 1952 during Hans Richther’s cinema lectures, seem to seal ‘in his honour’ a friendship pursued between the magazine “Film Culture” and the New York Film Study Group. A friendship based the love of form, light, generative montage, the infinite possibilities of cinema, which is “remember, a child, a ballet and (perhaps) truth”.

Riccardo Costantini

Copy From

New 2K digital master curated by Archivio Cinema del Friuli Venezia Giulia from a 16mm positive print