Maya Deren: Meshes of the Afternoon 1943

Maya Deren: Meshes of the Afternoon

Daughter of an emigre Ukrainian psychiatrist, Maya Deren was a talented dancer, choreographer, poet and photographer who became a leading proponent of an avant garde genre of film-making (dubbed Trance films by some) that used the camera as a tool for psycho-sexual self-investigation. Christened Eleanora Derenkowski, she adopted the name Maya Deren in 1943, the same year she made her first and best-known film Meshes of the Afternoon with her second husband, the photographer Alexander Hammid.
With this, and the other films she made in the 1940s, in which she often acted, scripted, and choreographed (as well as conceiving and directing) Maya Deren established herself as a pioneer of the American Avant-Garde, with her Trance films sub-genre influencing a string of counter-culture film-makers including Kenneth Anger (Scorpio Rising 1964), Curtis Harrington (Fragment of Seeking 1946), and Stan Brakhage (Dog Star Man 1961).

 

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