Admission is always free Directions
Open today: 10:00 to 5:00
Film Programs
Birth of a Nation preceded by This Side of Paradise: Fragments of an Unfinished Biography

August 25 at 4:30
East Building Auditorium

Jonas Mekas was invited in the late 1960s to bring his Bolex to Andy Warhol’s Montauk estate in order to instruct the Kennedy children in filmmaking — a diversion in the wake of John F. Kennedy’s death. Later, he transformed his footage using techniques such as under and overexposure, repetition, and jump cuts to lend this intimate home movie footage a special strangeness and intensity. This Side of Paradise: Fragments of an Unfinished Biography is a haunting portrait of this mythical family, showing ordinary folk in a celebration of life. (1999, 16mm, 35 minutes)
    Birth of a Nation was described by Mekas as “one hundred and sixty portraits or rather appearances, sketches, and glimpses of avant-garde, independent filmmakers and film activists between 1955 and 1996. Why Birth of a Nation? Because the film independents IS a nation in itself. We are surrounded by commercial cinema nation, same way as the indigenous people of the United States or of any other country are surrounded by Ruling Powers. We are the invisible, but essential nation of cinema.” Music by Richard Wagner and Hermann Nitsch. Voice by Jean Houston. (1997, 16mm, 85 minutes)

still from This Side of Paradise: Fragments of an Unfinished Biography
courtesy Film-makers' Cooperative/ New American Cinema Group

Film Programs

The National Gallery of Art’s film program provides many opportunities throughout the year to view classic and contemporary cinema from around the world.

View the current schedule here.

Visitor Information


Get updates on what’s happening at the Gallery, from exhibitions and lectures to family programs and more. Sign up.