Jonas Mekas

Guns of the Trees (1962) 16mm, 35mm, DVD PAL, black and white, 75 min

Genre: Narrative, Experimental

Keywords: Psychology & Mental Health

Jonas Mekas wrote, produced, directed, and photographed this arty experimental study of the beatnik movement in America. A bleak portrait of modern existentialism and despair, Guns of the Trees tells the story of young Barbara (Francis Stillman), who is desperately trying to find some value in her life but is weighed down by depression. She seeks solace in the church but instead is met by Gregory (Adolfas Mekas), an intellectual who seems to have an even worse opinion of life than she does. For a time, she seems close to rescue by Ben and Argus (Ben Carruthers and Argus Carruthers) a married couple who seem to have found genuine value in life through each other. Ultimately, they cannot save her from her own despair. This beat portrayal of angst is interspersed with poetry readings and rather blatant symbology. ~ John Voorhees, All Movie Guide Four young people are trying to understand why their friend, a young woman, committed a suicide. A film made up of disconnected scenes weaving between past and present. The title of the film comes from a poem by Stuart Perkoff which tells that some young people felt (around 1960) that everything is against them, so much that even the trees in the parks and streets seemed to them like guns pointing at their very existence. - J. M. Guns of the Trees deals with the thoughts, feelings, and anguished strivings of my generation, faced with the moral perplexity of our times. Conceived as an episodic, horizontal film, there is no apparent direct story connection between one scene and the next. The scenes act like pieces of a larger, timed, emotional mosaic. Where the direct word, or the direct image, fails - when we come to more essential things-the indirectness of the poet will seize the essence and the truth. - J. M. It is a bitter but lyric work. It is also revolutionary in form, being unlike, in its technique, anything you ever saw. It is a poster declaration, a manifesto. I regard Guns of The Trees as the most important film by far of the American "New Wave." - Herman G. Weinberg, New York Film-Makers' Cooperative Catalogue n6, 1975 It may be one of the most personal and revealing films of the intellectual, beat and hip fringe of society of America today. - Gene Moskowitz, Cahiers du cinema, N119, May 1961

Rental: $150.00
16mm Rental: $150.00
35mm Rental: $150.00

DVD PAL Sale: $32.00 Home Use Only

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