Long live emigration-etc!

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Many thanks to everyone who was voting! :D

Thanks to you guys, I seem to have been nominated in the Irish Blog Awards, Best Blog by a Journalist Category, as was kindly informed by Primal.

So who is playing God now and making the pivotal vote? :)

Anyway, thanks again, I'll try to keep up the good work.

Here's a photo from Vilnius yesterday - I'm trying to sort a few things back home. I haven't seen it snowing for more than two years - this was the best birthday present I could get (after the nomination).


Movie festival features American avant-garde cinema with a Lithuanian touch

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This February Jameson Dublin International Film Festival gives a rare opportunityto watch a retrospective of avant-garde filmmmaker's Jonas Mekas' work. Although in his homeland Lithuania 85-year-old Mekas is better known as a poet and many still are unfamiliar with his experimental films, for some Lithuanians Mekas is what James Joyce or U2 are to the Irish - a reason to be proud and celebrate their identity.

Mekas is widely regarded as one of the leading figures of American avant-garde filmmaking or the “New American Cinema,” with the likes of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali appearing in the innumerable hours of his film diaries reflecting on his life in New York, where he has been working for the past 60 years. As one of the filmmakers' fans has observed, before there was internet, "Reality TV" or YouTube, there were the films of Jonas Mekas. Quite a life for somebody who nearly became a baker in Chicago.

Mekas was born in a small village in Lithuania and in 1944 with his brother Adolfas he was taken by the Nazis and imprisoned in a forced labor camp in Nazi Germany. After the War, he studied philosophy at the University of Mainz and in 1949 with his brother he emigrated to the U.S. Initially they were heading to Chicago, where Mekas was supposed to become a baker, but two weeks after the arrival he borrowed the money to buy his first Bolex camera and began to film his life. Moreover, Mekas became a keen supporter of experimental cinema and also one of the founders of Anthology Film Archives in New York - one of the world's largest and most important repositories of avant-garde films. His efforts in promoting underground cinema have been recognized worldwide.

The filmmaker calls his films a celebration of life. Faces of celebrities merge with memories of Lithuania, episodes from trips to Europe are followed by conversations with his friends on philosophy in his New York loft. His handheld camera produces frames which are not knit together by a script, but by the act of filming. His frames flick, pause, suddenly are interrupted by Lithuanian folk singing, continue and flick again. Hours of film diaries turn into a spectacle of cinematic vision.
Dublin International Film Festival, in association with Solus - an independent film collective promoting Irish and international short and avant-garde films, will present five of Mekas' movies: As I Was Moving Ahead, Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, The Brig, Notes on a Circus, Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania and A Letter from Greenpoint. The filmmaker himself will arrive to Dublin as well, so if you happen to stumble across the man with his signature hat and a video camera, you might be included in one of his films.

While The New York Times suggests that the length of some of his movies may call for coffee and blankets - one of them is nearly five hours long - Mekas claims that in fact all of his film work is one long film which is still continuing. “I don't really make films: I only keep filming. I am a filmer", he remarks.

Written for "Metro Eireann"


Question: on visions

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If you apply for Master's degree studies, do you know which subject you want to focus on during those two years before you commence the studies? I suppose you should have a rough idea which subjects interest you most, but how about that meticulous vision? On the other hand, can a vision be meticulous? Visions usually are vague, unless you're John the Apostle.

PS Two main reasons folks apply for Master's studies in Lithuania are: conscription (applies to guys) and the possession of paper with MA of x scribbled on it. How about Ireland?


Pitfalls of TOEFL

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Here I am jumping from one step of the ladder of competence to the other. Preparations for TOEFL could be running smoother.

Firstly, I started to suspect myself of being dyslexic. I guess I'm joining the rest of the band - Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Picasso. Then I realized that I'm not concentrating - the bloody era of internet, when you surf between five windows, iTunes, gmail and manage to google at the same time. Moreover, because of spell checkers, kindly supplied with our PCs and laptops, I got used to making spelling mistakes. And finally - I DON'T LIKE AMERICAN PRONUNCIATION, which is one of the features of TOEFL!

Which stage I am at? I guess conscious incompetence, which makes me one step above the starting level and two behind the target. Another month to go. Just found a website saying "Learn English in 10 Days". Which reminds me a conversation between two students.

Do you speak Japanese?
No, when is the exam?