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Maya Deren

Maya Deren

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In The Mirror Of Maya Deren... Step inside the mind of avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren with Martina Kudlácek's... more info $29.99was $29.99 Buy Now



Also Known As: Eleanora Deren, Eleanora Derenkowsky Died: October 13, 1961
Born: April 29, 1917 Cause of Death: multiple brain hemorrhage
Birth Place: Ukraine Profession: filmmaker, theorist, dancer, editorial assistant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Leading American avant-garde filmmaker sometimes referred to as the "mother of the Underground film." In the US from the early 20s, Deren was intending to write a book about dance and accompanying Katherine Dunham on a national tour when she met Czech documentarian Alexander Hammid, who in 1942 became her second husband. Her first film, the surrealistic "Meshes of the Afternoon" (1943, 18 minutes) was a landmark in the history of American cinema, a psychosexually-themed "trance film" co-directed with Hammid. A striking beauty, Deren played the lead herself -- that of a young girl who claims to have been sexually molested, but one is not sure if the molestation is real or the result of a dream. The theme of dream vs. reality would play handily in Deren's future works as well. In her next work, "At Land" (1944, 15 minutes), Deren continued her subjectivist filmic odysseys and brought to the fore her concern with the manipulation of space and time, a recurrent preoccupation which resurfaced in "Ritual in Transfigured Time" (1946, 16 minutes), a formally daring exploration of dance and ritual.Deren also lectured extensively and helped establish New York's "underground" film circuit, setting up...

Leading American avant-garde filmmaker sometimes referred to as the "mother of the Underground film." In the US from the early 20s, Deren was intending to write a book about dance and accompanying Katherine Dunham on a national tour when she met Czech documentarian Alexander Hammid, who in 1942 became her second husband. Her first film, the surrealistic "Meshes of the Afternoon" (1943, 18 minutes) was a landmark in the history of American cinema, a psychosexually-themed "trance film" co-directed with Hammid. A striking beauty, Deren played the lead herself -- that of a young girl who claims to have been sexually molested, but one is not sure if the molestation is real or the result of a dream. The theme of dream vs. reality would play handily in Deren's future works as well. In her next work, "At Land" (1944, 15 minutes), Deren continued her subjectivist filmic odysseys and brought to the fore her concern with the manipulation of space and time, a recurrent preoccupation which resurfaced in "Ritual in Transfigured Time" (1946, 16 minutes), a formally daring exploration of dance and ritual.

Deren also lectured extensively and helped establish New York's "underground" film circuit, setting up avant-garde screening venues which gave birth to independent distribution houses such as Amos Vogel's Cinema 16. An insightful and articulate writer, she authored "The Divine Horseman: The Living God of Haiti" (1953), the result of a trip to Haiti which was to be the basis of a film, and the seminal "An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form and Film" (1946). A documentary on her life and legacy, "Invocation Maya Deren" was released in 1987.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Divine Horsemen (1977) Director
3.
  Meditation on Violence (1948) Director
5.
  Witch's Cradle (1961) Director
6.
  Very Eye of Night, The (1958) Director

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

1922:
Immigrated with family to USA
1943:
Made film directing debut, "Meshes of the Afternoon" (16mm, 18 mins)
1958:
Last completed film, "The Very Eye of Night"
1961:
Release of uncompleted film, "Witch's Cradle" (which Deren had worked on intermittently since 1943)
1975:
Assembly of compilation film, "Out-takes from 'A Study in Choreography for the Camera'"
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Education

Syracuse University: Syracuse , New York -
Syracuse University: Syracuse , New York -
New York University: New York , New York -
Smith College: Northampton , Massachusetts -
League of Nations School: -

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Alexander Hammid. Filmmaker. Second husband; photographed and appeared in several of Deren's films, including "Meshes of the Afternoon" and "At Land"; married 1942.
husband:
Teijo Ito. Composer. Third husband; composed a musical score which was added onto Deren's film "Meshes of the Afternoon"; also did the score for her "The Very Eye of Night".

Family close complete family listing

father:
Alexander Deren. Psychiatrist. Director, State Institute for the Feeble-Minded in Syracuse, New York.

Bibliography close complete biography

"An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form, and Film"
"The Divine Horseman: The Living God of Haiti"
"Points of Resistance"
"The Legend of Maya Deren: A Document Biography and Collected Works"
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