Born April 29, 1917, this year would have been Maya Deren’s 100th birthday. In celebration of her contribution to experimental cinema, this video outlines some of the key principles informing Deren’s filmmaking. Deren wrote prolifically about her film practice, and the compilation of her writings – Essential Deren – has been one of my touchstones as a filmmaker since it was published in 2005.
The essays in Essential Deren contain both practical advice about shooting and editing, as well as Deren’s philosophical perspective toward filmmaking. I focus on the latter in my video.
The examples in this video are drawn from Deren’s 6 films:
- Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
- At Land (1944)
- A Study for Choreography for Camera (1945)
- Ritual in Transfigured Time (1945-46)
- Meditation on Violence (1947)
- The Very Eye of Night (1959)
Laura Ivins loves stop motion, home movies, imperfect films, nature hikes, and Stephen Crane’s poetry. She has a PhD from Indiana University and an MFA from Boston University. In addition to watching and writing about movies, sometimes she also makes them.