LFF Review: Fragments of Paradise

Although the Lumière brothers are widely credited as the pioneers of what has become modern cinema, there wasn’t just one event, or film, which brought motion pictures to life. It was the culmination of the hard work and efforts of many, over a number of years. However, as a medium it never stands still. There are always countless filmmakers, all across the world, who are pushing the boundaries of the art of the possible.

Jonas Mekas is one of the most unlikely heroes of modern avant-garde cinema. Born in Lithuania, he was imprisoned in 1944 after being caught trying to flee across the border. Along with his brother, Adolfas, he escaped from a labour camp and hid until the end of the war. After graduating from university, they emigrated to America. Soon after arriving, Jonas bought his first video camera and the rest is history. Fragments of Paradise tells his story.

Fragment of Paradise tracks Mekas through his career, discussing how much his work and stewardship had such a profound influence on ‘outsider’ cinema. Using the wealth of archive material he shot over a period of seventy years, K.D. Davison constructs a documentary which not only highlight his importance but also captures much of his nature. Fragment of Paradise manages to bottle his enthusiasm inside an engaging and enthralling portrait.

Fragments of Paradise screens at London Film Festival.

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