The American avant-garde cinema movement began with Maya Deren and her collaboration with her husband, choreographer Alexander Hammid, on Meshes of the Afternoon in 1943. Deren continued to work independently throughout the 1940s, exploring cinematic possibilities--both stylistically and thematically. Though rarely screened, her body of work laid the foundation for the underground cinema of the following decades.
MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON
Deren's seminal first film is an inner narrative about a woman haunted by her husband and thoughts of suicide. Meshes of the Afternoon was then-newlywed Deren's only directorial collaboration with her spouse . 1943, U.S., 18 minutes.
This trance film presents a heroine, played by Deren, who moves invisibly among other characters. When she is finally alone, she must confront herself and her past. 1944, U.S., 15 minutes.
A STUDY IN CHOREOGRAPHY FOR THE CAMERA
With Study in Choreography, Deren combined her two fascinations, dance and film, in a pas de deux. 1945, U.S., 4 minutes.
RITUAL IN TRANSFIGURED TIME
Intended to be the first in a series of films concerning human rituals, Ritual inTransfigured Time presents a complex meditation on movement and unconsciousness. 1946, U.S., 15 minutes.
MEDITATION ON VIOLENCE
While researching sports for Ritual in Transfigured Time, Deren discovered Chinese boxing. She intended to filmically convey the metaphysics of movement, but ultimately felt dissatisfied with the final film. 1948, U.S., 12 minutes.
THE VERY EYE OF NIGHT
Deren's final film marks a departure in her work from her earlier association with myth into a Cubist-influenced world without gravitational laws. 1959, U.S., 15 minutes