Meshes of the Afternoon - Maya Deren 1943

Laura Mulvey called her the mother of the avant-garde, and indeed, many histories credit Maya Deren with the inauguration of an experimental film practice in the United States and Meshes of the Afternoon with inventing the dream film. Deren's first project uses trick photography, repetition, a swaying camera, and a figure cloaked in black to evoke a woman's dream state and the conflicting impulses of sexual attraction and fear. The film was shot in 1943 in Los Angeles by Deren's then-husband, Alexander Hammid, a Hollywood cinematographer and filmmaker himself, and it launched Deren's career as a staunch proponent of independent and experimental film in the New York indie scene. Deren's later work shifted - as a dancer she was very interested in rhythm, an interest that she carried over into her filmmaking and editing, and she became very curious as well about ritual, voodoo, and ethnography. Relatively recent MTV Meshes of the Afternoon homages (or are they thefts?) include Katherine Dieckmann's moody video for Kristen Hersh's "Your Ghost" and the sexy Milla video for "Gentleman Who Fell."

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