Des O’Rawe
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Journey to Central Park
in Regarding the real
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This chapter compares two documentary treatments of the 1980 Central Park vigil for John Lennon: Jonas Mekas’ Happy Birthday to John (1995), and Raymond Depardon’s Ten Minutes Silence for John Lennon (1980). Mekas and Depardon might seem an improbable combination but as the chapter shows, there are affinities, if not direct points of convergence, in their outlook and method: both sensibilities have been shaped by migrant experiences, and much of their work, for all its formal and structural differences, is preoccupied with exile and displacement, rootedness and the meaning of home; the country and the city; both are Europeans who have developed a distinctive artistic relationship with New York City; both are concerned with the place of autobiography in their work, using captions, inter-titles, diary entries, photographs, and 1st person commentary to complicate relations between the imaginary and the documentary.

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Regarding the real

Cinema, documentary, and the visual arts


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