Philippa Hawker reviews 'Movie Journal: The rise of new American cinema 1959–1971' by Jonas Mekas

Philippa Hawker reviews 'Movie Journal: The rise of new American cinema 1959–1971' by Jonas Mekas

Movie Journal: The rise of new American cinema 1959–1971

by Jonas Mekas

Columbia University Press (Footprint), $59.95 pb, 453 pp, 9780231175579

'Do you really want me to fall that low, to become a film critic, one of those people who write reviews?' asks Jonas Mekas, responding with typical brio to complaints from readers. Between 1959 and 1971 he produced a regular movie column in the Village Voice, a polemical and poetic enterprise that has plenty of resonance for contemporary cinema and those who write about it. Movie Journal is a collection of approximately one-third of those columns, some in full, some excerpted. It was published in 1972 but has long been out of print. This reprint is a welcome addition to the literature of film. The columns feel fresh off the page and scorchingly energetic; Mekas, still active at ninety-three, is around to add a jaunty afterword.

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Philippa Hawker

Philippa Hawker

Philippa Hawker is a writer on film and the arts for The Age and Fairfax Media. She is a former editor of the journal Cinema Papers.

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