The Mighty Mekas

Adolfas Mekas with cinematic halo (Syd M)

Adolfas Mekas with cinematic halo (Syd M)

A reading to celebrate the publication of the first volume of the diaries of the late filmmaker Adolfas Mekas willt take place on Wednesday, March 9, at Oblong Books & Music, 6422 Montgomery Street, Rhinebeck at 6 p.m.

Among his many anarchically comic films, Adolfas Mekas directed the now-classic Hallelujah the Hills (1963), which was the surprise hit of the Cannes Film Festival that year and winner of the Silver Sail at the Locarno Festival. Along with his brother Jonas, Adolfas edited the seminal magazine Film Culture; he was largely responsible for launching film studies at Bard College in the early 1970s, and directed Bard’s MFA Program from 1983 to 1989.

            The Adolfas Diaries: Book 1 cover the years that the teenaged Adolfas and Jonas spent in a Nazi labor camp, and then, postwar, in a succession of camps for displaced persons. Excerpts will be read by Adolfas’s wife, the chanteuse and arts producer Pola Chapelle, and former Bard staffer Mikhail Horowitz, a poet and widely vilified performance artist. Bard President Leon Botstein calls the diaries “a riveting and humane account of the struggle and survival of one of the most colorful and brilliant filmmakers of his generation . . . a gift of remembrance to future generations.”

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