Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid
USA 1943
14 min

Meshes of the Afternoon was produced in an environment of wartime volatility, and this is reflected symbolically throughout its mise-en-scène. The title card suggesting that the film was made in Hollywood is ironic. Deren sets her film within an L.A. setting, but it is the nightmare element of the dream factory that interests her most. The film establishes an atmosphere saturated in paranoia and distrust with lovers turning into killers and with the presence of a mysterious but fascinating hooded figure. As European émigrés, Deren and Hammid invest their film with an acute sense of restlessness and alienation. Meshes of the Afternoon reflects this uncanny estrangement in the doubling, tripling and quadrupling of its central character (played by Deren) and in its cyclic narrative, a structure that seems condemned to repetition.
The hooded figure with the reflective face adds yet another dimension, reflecting back the identity of those who look into her eyes. 1943 was a year of transformation and consolidation for Deren. She returned to New York, married Hammid, transferred her primary focus from dance to film and changed her name from Eleanora to Maya. Her new name was particularly apt for a burgeoning filmmaker. Buddhists understand Maya to mean «illusion», in Sanskrit it translates as «mother», and in Greek mythology Maya is the messenger of the Gods.

This film is part of the program <filmlink id=\"3030\">Sunshine Noir</filmlink>.

  • Maya Deren
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