Fragments of Paradise

Fragments of Paradise

USA | 2022 | 98 min. | KD Davison

Using an endless supply of footage from his own home video and film diaries, this experimental doc lays out the complicated life of the unparalleled Jonas Mekas, the godfather of avant-garde cinema and founder of Film Culture magazine and NYC’s Anthology Film Archives.

Long before cell phone cameras and social media, Jonas Mekas documented his own life on film and eventually video. And what a life it was. After escaping the Soviets during WWII, he found his way to New York. A poet who learned to write with a camera, he would film snippets of his life over the course of the next 70 years. But he didn't only write with his camera. His "Movie Journal" column for The Village Voice and the screenings of avant-garde films he curated helped coalesce a budding film scene. He found himself in the center of the vibrant NY art community, befriending Beat poets like Allen Ginsberg, inspiring Andy Warhol to pick up a camera, and hanging out with John and Yoko, among others. Through it all he filmed everything, upwards of 500 hours of footage. From this daunting archive, filmmaker KD Davison combines some classics with never-before-seen footage to not just venerate the "godfather of avant-garde cinema," but show him as a man who was human and striving and poetic and vulnerable in his own diary films. Through it all, you can understand why so many artists were drawn to him because in this film he is truly magnetic.

Andy Spletzer

  • Director: KD Davison
  • Principal Cast: Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, John Waters, Jim Jarmusch
  • Country: USA, Lithuania
  • Year: 2022
  • Running Time: 98 min.
  • Producer: Elyse Frenchman, Leanne Cherundolo, Matthew O. Henderson, KD Davison
  • Cinematographers: Bill Kirstein
  • Editors: Michael Levine
  • Music: Osei Essed, Saul Simon MacWilliams
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: DocNYC 2022 (Metropolis Grand Jury Price), Venice International Film Festival 2022 (Best Documentary on Cinema)
  • Filmography: The Soul of America (2020)
  • Language: English, Lithuanian
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Cinetic Media