Jonas’ life has primarily been dedicated to advocating for cinema in all its most expressive forms, although it wasn’t until he traveled to America that he came to realise this. In his native Lithuania he is better known as a poet, which is what he did before he became uprooted by a pattern of events beyond his control. He started out trying to emulate the commercial, industrialised cinema, but the work he has since become better known for is a personal, handmade variety in which the filmmaker him/herself takes on every aspect of the production.
His films express epiphanies in his every day experiences. In Jonas’ films every day popular attractions are just as important a source of lyrical beauty and transcendent joy as that which you might find elevated to high status in an art gallery. Take a look at this visit to the circus from his film Walden (1969):
But why should we consider such amateurish, home-made looking films as worthy of anything other than the attention of the filmmakers’ family and friends? Aren’t “professional” films the only important ones, after all? And where did the audacious thought that a home made film could be an artistic creation come from?