Film-Letter: the Beginning, Exchanging and Narration in Jonas Mekas and José Luis Guerín’s Correspondence


  • Ming-Yu Lee



Jonas Mekas, José Luis Guerín, correspondence, film-letter, epistolary, diary film


In 2011, Jonas Mekas and José Luis Guerín finished their collective film project, Correspondence: Jonas Mekas – J. L. Guerín, a series of ‘film-letters’ between the two contemporary filmmakers. The film starts with Guerín (Letter to Jonas Mekas no. I), and ends, also with Guerín (Letter to Jonas Mekas no. 5). The film includes nine film-letters between the two. The film is interesting, as it is not only a project across time and space – it took three years to complete, and the correspondences sent and received from numerous locations across the globe – but is also that rarest of filmmaking, so close to diary film and first-person cinema, yet with something different waiting to be discovered.

In this paper I shall discuss the following characteristics in the film correspondence between Guerín and Mekas, in order to give a clearer picture of what exactly is a film-letter:

1) When is the (real) beginning of film-letters?

2) The continuity and exchange of the filmed subjects and themes.

3) The narration: the use of images plus voice-overs in film-letters.

4) The question of audience.


Article received: December 30, 2017; Article accepted: January 10, 2018; Published online: April 15, 2018; Original scholarly paper


How to cite this article: Lee, Ming-Yu. "Film-Letter: the Beginning, Exchanging and Narration in Jonas Mekas and José Luis Guerín’s Correspondence." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 15 (2018): 127–134. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i15.236

Author Biography

Ming-Yu Lee

Ming-Yu Lee orcid

Shih Hsin University, Taipei City
Taiwan, Province of China

Ming-Yu Lee, assistant professor, Department of Radio, Television and Film at Shih Hsin University (Taipei, Taiwan). Research interests include the diary film, experimental film, essay film, first-person cinema, and film-making. Independent filmmaker, photographer and film editor having directed several experimental shorts including Time Variations, Going Home, Home Not Yet Arrived, Four Years of Miller. Works deal with the relationship between diary film, home movies, experimental film and questions of identity.


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How to Cite

Lee, M.-Y. (2018). Film-Letter: the Beginning, Exchanging and Narration in Jonas Mekas and José Luis Guerín’s Correspondence. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (15), 127–134.