Mekas’s magnum opus diary film, comprised of footage from his early life, is one of the most beautiful films ever made—a monumental testimony to the importance of love, solidarity, and the recognition of beauty into one’s life.
In a wide-ranging 2007 interview with Brian Frye in Senses of Cinema, when asked about viewers’ response to this film Mekas said, “As I Was Moving Ahead was shown two years ago at the Anthology Film Archives, in the last program of the year, because that’s my birthday. A couple of months later, I meet a couple in the street, a woman and a man. They said, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you! We saw the film and we decided to get married and have children.’ There’s a lot about children in the film.
Then, sometime later, I meet two men and they said, ‘Thank you, thank you. We saw the film and we decided to get married.’ Two gay men. There is no gay sensibility in the film, but still they identified. To me, that was very interesting.
There is also this Italian photographer who was at the same screening. When I went to a restaurant with the photographer Daudain, she came with the photographer from Italy. She said, ‘We have to tell you this strange story about him going to see your film at Anthology. The film ends, he cannot get up. The manager had to call an ambulance. He was taken to hospital. And the doctor says, ‘We have never had a case like this.’’ What happened was that this guy got so involved in the images that all this energy, everything, the rest of the body became like dead. He could not move. He was so concentrated, so involved in the images. It took them a couple hours to bring him back to normal.”