Location: Bartos Screening Room
Dir. Jonas Mekas. 1964, 68 mins. 16mm. While best known for his memoirist assemblages, Jonas Mekas also made this sui generis masterpiece of hybrid cinema. Just his second feature, The Brig sounds straightforward: a filmed version of a stage play by the same name written by Kenneth H. Brown and directed by Judith Malina and Julian Beck for the Living Theatre in New York. Except Mekas’s approach is not to document the theatricality, reassuring the viewer through a degree of removal; it is to film the performance up close and urgently, as if what is captured—the harrowing abuse of ten Marine Corps inmates—was actually happening before the camera. Which, in various ways, it was. Mekas’s camera does not lie, and nor do the actors he is filming, irregardless of the fact that they are acting. The Brig is a potent, bracing declamation that art and performance can be deadly serious and honest as hell.
Tickets: $15 ($11 seniors and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / free for children under 3 and Museum members at the Film Lover and Kids Premium levels and above). Order tickets online. (Members may contact [email protected] with questions regarding online reservations.)
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