Maya Deren is one of the most important American experimental filmmakers of all time and Kino Classics and Re:Voir are proud to present new 2K restorations of her essential work. Along with being a filmmaker, Deren was a choreographer, dancer, film theorist, poet, lecturer and photographer, and she brings all of these disciplines together in her dreamlike and ecstatic films. Her most famous and influential is Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), co-directed with Alexander Hammid, which depicts a surrealist slippage in reality as a woman’s home becomes a shifting landscape of beauty and menace. At Land (1944) is another psychogeographical journey where Deren washes up on a beach and encounters a multiplicity of selves.
Also included are four 1940s dance films (A Study in Choreography for Camera, Ritual in Transfigured Time, Meditation on Violence, and The Very Eye of Night) in which, as Deren wrote, “I have attempted to place a dancer in limitless, cinemato-graphic space.” She and Hammid put felines through a similarly intimate process in The Private Life of a Cat (1947), which foresaw the future of cat videos. A different exploration of movement occurs in Divine Horsemen (1947-1951, 1979), a remarkable hour-long montage of footage that Deren shot of Haitian Voodoo ceremonies. Stan Brakhage called Maya Deren “the mother of us all.” The history of avant-garde film is unthinkable without her.