“During her last year of life, Maya, Teiji (her young third husband), Adolfas, and I saw each other at least once a week. It seems strange, but I do not remember any ‘memorable,’ 'intellectual’ discussions together. It was all talk about what had to be done for the next event, or else about what we had seen, or our friends, or memories of Europe—and Adolfas and I used to go home all excited and not be able to sleep half the night. And then we would wake up and forget it all and another day would begin…

"Now, looking back in my memory, remembering it all in glimpses, in single frames, I see Maya’s face, always very intense, never making small talk. There was always a very special subtle laugh behind that intensity, which would come out in brief spurts. Those who didn’t see this lighter side usually were a little bit frightened by Maya. The intensity is reflected in all of Maya’s faces, in her films. The exception perhaps is one of her most frequently reproduced images: Maya as a face from Botticelli. Curiously, though, that image was filmed and 'directed’ by Sasha Hammid, and I think it represents his dream of Maya: he threw her back to the Renaissance. All the other faces of Maya are rich with the reverberations of twentieth-century modern art.” – Jonas Mekas on Maya Deren

Instead of envying the script and dialogue writers, the trained actors, the elaborate staffs and sets, the enormous production budgets of the professional film, the amateur should make use of the one great advantage which all professionals envy him, namely, freedom—both artistic and physical…The most important part of your equipment is yourself: your mobile body, your imaginative mind, and your freedom to use both. Make sure you do use them.

Maya Deren

Short Films Directed by Maya Deren

The function of film, Maya Deren believed, like most art forms, was to create an experience; each one of her films would evoke new conclusions, lending her focus to be dynamic and always-evolving. She combined her interests in dance, voodoo and subjective psychology in a series of surreal, perceptual, black and white short films. Using editing, multiple exposures, jump cutting, superimposition, slow-motion and other camera techniques to her fullest advantage, Deren creates continued motion through discontinued space, while abandoning the established notions of physical space and time, with the ability to turn her vision into a stream of consciousness.

Meshes of the Afternoon is a short experimental film directed by wife and husband team, Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid. The film’s narrative is circular, and repeats a number of psychologically symbolic images, including a flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a mysterious Grim Reaper–like cloaked figure with a mirror for a face, a phone off the hook and an ocean. Through creative editing, distinct camera angles, and slow motion, the surrealist film depicts a world in which it is more and more difficult to catch reality.

Ritual in Transfigured Time may be the piece in which Maya Deren puts all her interests and achievements: a surrealistic narrative and dance choreographies. It is beautiful and powerful, but may have too many elements to be coherent and to possess her earlier works’ strength.

At Land is a 15-minute silent experimental film written, directed by and starring Maya Deren. It has a dream-like narrative in which a woman, played by Deren, is washed up on a beach and goes on a strange journey encountering other people and other versions of herself. Deren once said that the film is about the struggle to maintain ones personal identity. The composer John Cage and the poet and film critic Parker Tyler were involved in making the film, and appear in the film, which was shot at Amagansett, Long Island.

In Maya Deren's Meditation on Violence, a young Oriental man with a headscarf and bare torso shadowboxes indoors in front of a series of unadorned walls, light, dark, both shades. He is then shown exercising outside with a sword in an area surrounded by a low stone wall and overlooking a river, before there is a return to the first sequence. Chao-Li Chi’s performance obscures the distinction between violence and beauty. Halfway through the film, the sequence is rewound, producing a film loop.


Watching, listening to this… Burial’s music played to Maya Deren film….. is haunting and beautiful.  Many artists have set tracks to Maya’s films brilliantly.  However, Burial's hypnotic vibe seems to mix with the mood of the film magically.  The two become one and something new alltogether.  ahhhhhhh……………….