In the summer of 1967, Jonas Mekas is in Italy: he takes the films of the New American Cinema, of which he is the greatest promoter, up and down the peninsula. And on his various journeys he films his diary with the Bolex 16mm that he has been using daily since 1949. It was through him that the idea of the home movie as an art form was established and it is he whom we pay homage to through this fragment, "Song of Assisi", a filmic melody (without soundtrack) dedicated to one of his journeys. "On my way to visit Pasolini I stopped at Assisi," reads the caption. He moves towards Rome, Mekas, and in the syncopated rhythm of the shots of poppies and flowering fields, at one point the poet and director PPP appears, portrayed in his Roman home. Between the Lithuanian and the Italian, both born in 1922, both forty-five years old, both influential intellectuals on either side of the ocean, however, a true dialogue will never be established. Pasolini, who dislikes these American avant-gardes, so distant from him, will go on to write that it is "an arbitrary amateurish reversal of time, making films that look like calendars whose pages are made to slide rapidly under the thumb..." A criticism that actually captures the revolutionary aspects that will make the fortune of this new look at the world, in its own way so unideological in the eyes of left-wing Europeans. Yet Mekas and Pasolini will face each other in a beautiful conversation with Gideon Bachman that will bring out the common and radical opposition of both to the rhetoric and signs of modernity, from opposite points of view.
Thanks to Sebastian Mekas and Giulia Simi, author of the volume "Jonas Mekas. Cinema and Life". Images kindly supplied for Home Movies 100 Almanac by: Jonas Mekas Estate / Re:Voir