Guns Of The Trees

Jonas Mekas’s highly uncharacteristic first feature (1962) is a fiction film about two couples in New York and environs whose contrasting behavior might be labeled hip and square. (The respective men are Ben Carruthers, who previously played the disaffected brother in John Cassavetes’s Shadows, and Adolfas Mekas, the filmmaker’s own brother.) Angry and at times shrill, sincere and sometimes pretentious, this independent beatnik effort also features an offscreen monologue by Allen Ginsberg and various kinds of arty interludes. Fascinating as a period piece, it also carries interest by showing the road not taken in Mekas’s subsequent diaristic and more experimental work. (JR)

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