Audrius Stonys: Jonas left us. With the same lightness as he used to live. Silently and gently as if he didn’t want to disturb the image of life. We first met in 1990, when he invited us, 10 young filmmakers from Lithuania to his Film Anthology Archive in New York.
The first day he told us a fairy tale about a clear and beautiful image of Paradise. One day this image was destroyed by the devil. It broke in to zillion peaces that scattered all around the world. The filmmakers, he said, are the ones who are looking for those tiny pieces of Paradise trying to put the image back together. The Paradise is not lost, he said. And we believed him. And since then we are collecting those pieces of Paradise.
I always wondered how images of his films could be filled with incredible joy and at the same time deepest existential sadness, indescribable lightness and philosophical depth.
When I asked him that question, he said: I lost too much in my life. And added: Don’t take everything too seriously. He lost his homeland, his landscapes, faces of his loved ones, sound of Lithuanian songs, images of the first snow, that falls on his village. He didn’t want to lose nothing more in his life, not a single second, so he started to film every second of his life.
He never was making films. He was standing in the Desert counting the Seconds of his Life. When Jonas Mekas friend George Maciunas, founder and soul of Fluxus, was dying from cancer in 1978, he said: I am not afraid to die. When I die, I will have a possibility to listen to all seven lost operas of Monteverdi. I am sure, that now, when the count of seconds of life is over, Jonas is standing in front of the complete image of Paradise.