He mentored Warhol, partied with Dalí and showed John and Yoko the perfect espresso. In this interview given shortly before his death, the film-making legend looked back on his amazing life
Jonas Mekas tells me he’s 27 years old. Strictly speaking, he’s 95, but the avant garde film-maker, poet, critic and philosopher decided 68 years ago that he was sticking at 27. “After 27, people begin to become old, according to Melville,” he says. “They look back and repeat. After 27, you begin to think, ‘Is this the right way to do it?’ You think twice. Before that, you say, ‘Fuck you, I don’t care. I just do it.’”
Is he still in his “Fuck you” period? “Yes I am. When I came to New York I was 27. I was very angry about what I had lost before 27. I always blamed the ‘civilisation’ that threw me out of my home.” Mekas still has a thick European accent. He grew up in a small village in northern Lithuania called Semeniškiai – he calls it a paradise “where nothing happened then suddenly everything happened”.
He tells Susan Sontag she should stick to writing and accuses Agnès Varda of making an ‘escapist’ filmContinue reading...