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Maya Deren: Experimental Films

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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(Feb 02, 2002)
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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.)
  • 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 (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006JMRA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,642 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Maya Deren: Experimental Films" on IMDb

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first encountered Maya's films in 1972 during Foundation Course in Art and Design. I immediately fell in love with this dark haired, beautiful and enigmatic woman who has an amazing eye when composing her shots. The films are bizarre and in monochrome but I feel they may have lost something had she used colour.

Although I particularly like the films featuring her wandering across strange landscapes, as a martial artist I was captivated by that of the father of her second husband doing Tai Chi at fighting speed especially when he started swinging a short sword around himself.

BTW, the reason for the title is that she died in 1961 at the relatively young age of 44, eleven years before I became aware of her. A bitter disappointment for someone who once had dreams of making films with her until life, family and a mortgage eventually intruded several years later.

If you have any interest in experimental and underground films this disk should take pride of place in your collection. Highly recommended by Bill "Sock Puppet" Fox.
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