Thursday, June 05, 2014

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

Made in Hollywood during the height of WWII by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, this landmark experimental film breaks free from the influence of previous traditions (especially French formalism and the German and Soviet "city symphony" models) that had held sway in the American avant-garde cinema since the 1920s.

Deren and Hammid evoke a dream state through an uncanny sense of screen time and space. Deren is one of the most consistently interesting experimental filmmakers for her masterful use of form and her total command of the screen both as filmmaker and as performer. Her work predates the explosion of interest in underground filmmaking during the late '50s, and she died tragically young in 1961, but her films were, and remain, a profoundly influential part of the American avant-garde tradition.

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