Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Potentiality knocks on the door of my heart.

Today I saw two short films by Maya Deren, a Russian-born avant-garde filmmaker with a strong background in choreography and dance, as well as an intense interest in both the music and ways of life of cultures from all around the world.

The first film was Meshes of the Afternoon, made in 1943. Maya's first husband, Alexander Hamid, plays the man in the film. The music is composed by Teiji Ito, who just so happens to be Deren's later husband. Honestly, I think it might be exactly what I could ever want from a film. Maya plays the lead role, and I was struck instantly by her exotic beauty. The mystery surrounding the events in the film are dreamlike, haunting, and unlike anything you would ever find in this time period.

The second film is called At Land, from 1944, and it is completely silent.

I'm not quite sure why these films affected me so much, but I adore them. They are so mysterious and beautiful and thought-provoking and unique. Both seem to deal with the concept of multiple selves - or perhaps multiple layers to one's self. In Meshes, the shadow is a prominent theme, and the shadow, in general, is seen as the side of the self containing, maybe, the most feared aspects of one's personality. Someone once told me that there is nothing inside of you that you can't trust - Maya Deren's vision challenges that. She is often cited as the mother of modern experimental film, and it's pretty easy to see why... she was incredible!


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