Friday, April 6, 2007

Maya Deren

The cinema of Maya Deren delivers us from the studios: it presents our eyes with physical facts which contain profound psychological meaning; it beats out within our hearts a time which alternates, continues, revolves, pounds, or flies away... Poetry, after all, is the feast which life offers those who know how to receive with their eyes and hearts, and understand. - Le Corbusier

Maya Deren was not only an American avant garde filmmaker, but also a choreographer, dancer, poet, writer and photographer. Her films explore the psychological dimension in imagery, body movement, time and space. She also acted in most of her films; her highly expressive face and body added to another layer of personal and touching feel to the films.

My favorite is Meshes of the Afternoon which portrays a dream at its best. The dream rewrites itself each time we follow Maya through the same path - meaning and logic gets interrupted, reconnected, implied, obscured...ultimately the attempt of interpretation is lost in the palpable atmosphere of the surreal, dreamy and uncanny. In her silent film At Lant the scene of two ladies playing chess on the beach influenced Bergman's famous opening scene in The Seventh Seal 13 years later. In the Mirror of Maya Deren is a very good documentary on Maya's life.

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