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8 silent films of the avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren accompanied by a live performance of Tom Young.
Jazz musicians have, at times, an exquisite precision of selective memory. Pressures, such as deadlines or critical demands, also serve artists of every kind to release the adrenalin which acts with 'inspired' precision. These are usually classified as 'improvisations'. (Maya Deren, 1960)
Maya Deren (Kiev 1917- New York 1961) is a key figure in the experimental American film-making. Artist, filmmaker, film theorist, dancer, choreographer, poet, writer and photographer, Deren was also a socialist political activist.
Her movies explore the dimensions of the human beings’ uncanny sides that lead to alienation, dream, estrangement, desires, fears and paranoia. The shootings based extreme angles, disorientating points of view, hypnotic repetitions, time reversals, as well as the radical editing, create a physical experience for the spectator and break cinema roles being openly critical towards the Hollywood realistic narrative.
Her interest in the ritual dance brought her to Haiti where she was initiated to local Voudoun ceremonies. She ran a deep research through interviews, recordings and shootings (edited posthumously) and she published in 1953 her study on voodoo “Divine Horsemen: the Living Gods of Haiti”.
Although she was influenced by the Surrealism and the Structuralism, she remains a visionary and mold-breaker artist who rejected definitions and who refused to be limited by the institutional formalisms.
This selection of short movies constitutes the core of her filmmaking production of the ‘40s and ‘50s.