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Maya Deren: Experimental Films


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Product Details

  • Actors: Maya Deren
  • Format: Black & White, Collector's Edition, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Mystic Fire Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 2, 2002
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006JMRA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,630 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Maya Deren: Experimental Films" on IMDb

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Steward Willons TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2007
Format: DVD
Contrary to some previous reviews, Maya Deren, at least in film circles, is one of the most popular experimental directors of the 20th century. And with good reason - her beautiful films are bold and groundbreaking, but also easily accessible and just plain fun to watch. Certain experimental classics such as Michael Snow's structuralist "Wavelength" are more interesting in theory, as they work very well conceptually, but are not as fun to watch. Similarly, Stan Brakhage left behind many beautiful works, but I still find myself more interested in his craft, the way he scratched, painted, or otherwise composed directly on the film stock itself.

By contrast, Deren's films work on many levels. A new viewer inexperienced in avant-garde film will find plenty to enjoy while the seasoned viewer will enjoy the innovative technique Deren employs as well as her metaphor and symbolism.

Besides being a filmmaker, Deren did much to further the art of avant-garde film including writing on aesthetics and helping her contemporaries find exhibition space and support. Her influence on cinematography in particular cannot be over emphasized. Reportedly, after viewing "A Study in Choreography for Camera", Gene Kelly telephoned Deren to ask how exactly she was able to get a dancer to do what was on the film. "At Land" is still has many of the most interesting match-on-action editing sequences of all time.

"Meshes of the Afternoon" is definitely her most popular work, and probably her best. It's a great example of trance film. Any explanation I could attempt to give is a poor substitute for watching it yourself.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kind of a Movie Fan on December 26, 2005
Format: DVD
Let's get this out of the way first, go buy this DVD, it is perfect and easily worth the money.

If I were to have seen these films w/o the dates at the beginning, I would have never in a million years believed these films were made in the early to late 1940s. I truly could believe these films were made in Seattle this year. This lady is a great artist whose films need to be seen by a large audience today. I want to see her films on the big screen. There is hope as long as we have Indy theaters.
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Format: DVD
"Maya Deren: Experimental Films" includes all 6 complete films by Maya Deren, the chief proponent and practitioner of experimental or avant-garde film in the United States in the 1940s-1950s. The films are almost in chronological order, beginning with Deren's most recognizable and influential film, the haunting "Meshes of the Afternoon" (14 min), filmed by her second husband Alexander Hammid in Hollywood in 1943. The film was originally silent, but this version includes music by Deren's third husband Teiji Ito that was added in 1957. "Meshes of the Afternoon" succeeds admirably in reproducing "the way in which the subconscious will develop, interpret, and elaborate an incident", as Deren claimed. What amazes me is how this discontinuous, repetitive film manages to build suspense and create intrigue in addition to its striking visuals and provocative themes, making it the most accessible and enduring of Deren's films.

"At Land" (15 min, silent, 1944) again places Deren in the central role and uses duplication of her character to convey self-perception. "A Study in Choreography for Camera" (2 min, silent, 1943) features ballet dancer Talley Beatty performing continuously as the camera jumps between different environments discontinuously. "Ritual in Transfigured Time" (15 min, silent, 1945-6) is another self-expression but with Rita Christiani and Anais Nin in major roles, Deren appearing at the beginning and end. "Meditation on Violence" (12 min, 1948) films Chao Li Chi performing traditional movements from Wu-Tang Chinese boxing, accompanied by flute and drums. The peaceful and violent aspects of the martial art are represented as Chao begins with no accoutrements against a white background then moves outdoors in ceremonial dress with a sword.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Donald Rogers on November 8, 2005
Format: DVD
Working in the 1940s and 50s, Maya Deren was a pioneer among woman directors, and an important experimental filmmaker.

This collection includes:

* Meshes of the Afternoon (1943, music 1959), her best-known film

* At Land (1944)

* A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945)

* Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946)

* Meditation on Violence (1948)

* The Very Eye of Night (1952, music 1959)

Definitely worth exploring.
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