Pure Cinema Celluloid

MAYA DEREN

 

I love Maya Deren and her astonishing movies. She made intensely haunting trance films and cine-dance films. Her editing is some of the most exquisite I have ever seen. Her cinematic style and vision is truly remarkable. Her lyrical poetic film "Meshes of the Afternoon" is the finest example I have seen of a film that does have a narrative, a story, but that subordinates it to the cinematic experience. The story is only a secondary element which is subservient to the cinematic technique, not the other way around. In that way the film is primarily a non-narrative non-story driven piece that remains integral as motion picture art. It is still autonomously cinematic. 

My favorite of hers is "At Land". It is extraodinary filmmaking! Visual, hypnotic, dream-like. I love it very much! Her slow-motion, editing, reverse motion, and black and white cinematography are fantastic. She has many subtle but magnificent formal situations in it that seem effortless and natural but that are actually very surreal and exciting. 

Her cinematic transformation of Space and Time is unsurpassed. I would cut her trims with my teeth. I love how she creatively stylizes reality. I love how she uses the medium to make things from the real world look as how they feel to her, as opposed to a literal representation of them. 

Maya with her husband and great composer Teiji Ito 

 "At Land" is a masterpiece. The black and white imagery is so vivid and clear. It has such a mood! The feeling is utterly indescribable in words. It could only be felt as a cinematic experience. I love the aura, the atmosphere, the places. She was a special woman and a important film artist.

 

She influenced Stan Brakhage, Curtis Harrington, Kenneth Anger, among many other filmmakers including into the present,  and single-handedly created the first American Independent Film movement. 

 

She is the heroine of Film Art and an enormous influence and inspiration to me.     

 

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Alexander Hammid, co-maker of "Meshes of the Afternoon" and the goddess Maya Deren.c.1940