Guns of the Trees

New Restoration - Presented on 35mm

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Overshadowed by his 16mm diaristic work of later years, Jonas Mekas’s debut film, Guns of the Trees, a feature-length experimental narrative shot on 35mm, is nonetheless a foundational work both within his own filmography and within the nascent New American Cinema movement. As such, it qualifies as a crucial crossroads between the possibilities of narrative filmmaking and the pioneering avant-garde cinema that was to come. Influenced equally by European New Wave and American Beat cinema – specifically Shadows (1959) and Pull My Daisy (1959) – Guns of the Trees is a time capsule of cultural upheaval and of the burgeoning independent film movement of the early 1960s. (Jonas Mekas, USA, 1962 75 min., b&w)

“Four young people are trying to understand why their friend, a young woman, committed 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.” –Jonas Mekas

Restored by Anthology Film Archives and The Film Foundation with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

Image courtesy of the estate of Jonas Mekas and Anthology Film Archives

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