Maya Deren

Filmmaker, Theorist, Dancer
Leading American avant-garde filmmaker sometimes referred to as the "mother of the Underground film. " In the US from the early 20s, Deren was intending to write a book about dance and accompanying Katherine Dunham on a ... Read more »
Born: 04/28/1917 in Ukraine

Filmography

Director (9)

Divine Horsemen 1976 (Movie)

(Director)

Witch's Cradle 1960 (Movie)

(Director)

The Very Eye of Night 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

Meditation on Violence 1947 (Movie)

(Director)

Ritual in Transfigured Time 1945 (Movie)

(Director)

A Study in Choreography For Camera 1944 (Movie)

(Director)

At Land 1943 (Movie)

(Director)

Meshes of the Afternoon 1942 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (8)

Witch's Cradle 1960 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Very Eye of Night 1957 (Movie)

(Producer)

Meditation on Violence 1947 (Movie)

(Producer)

Ritual in Transfigured Time 1945 (Movie)

(Producer)

A Study in Choreography For Camera 1944 (Movie)

(Producer)

At Land 1943 (Movie)

(Producer)

Meshes of the Afternoon 1942 (Movie)

(Producer)
Editor (7)

Witch's Cradle 1960 (Movie)

(Editor)

The Very Eye of Night 1957 (Movie)

(Editor)

Meditation on Violence 1947 (Movie)

(Editor)

Ritual in Transfigured Time 1945 (Movie)

(Editor)

A Study in Choreography For Camera 1944 (Movie)

(Editor)

At Land 1943 (Movie)

(Editor)

Meshes of the Afternoon 1942 (Movie)

(Editor)
Camera, Film, & Tape (7)

Divine Horsemen 1976 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Witch's Cradle 1960 (Movie)

(Photography)

The Very Eye of Night 1957 (Movie)

(Photography)

Meditation on Violence 1947 (Movie)

(Photography)

A Study in Choreography For Camera 1944 (Movie)

(Photography)

Meshes of the Afternoon 1942 (Movie)

(Photography)
Writer (7)

Witch's Cradle 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Meditation on Violence 1947 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Ritual in Transfigured Time 1945 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Study in Choreography For Camera 1944 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

At Land 1943 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Meshes of the Afternoon 1942 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Actor (3)

Ritual in Transfigured Time 1945 (Movie)

(Actor)

At Land 1943 (Movie)

(Actor)

Meshes of the Afternoon 1942 (Movie)

(Actor)
Music (2)

Invocation Maya Deren 1986 (Movie)

("The Man I Love") (Song Performer)

Meditation on Violence 1947 (Movie)

(Music)
Sound (1)

Meditation on Violence 1947 (Movie)

sound recording (Sound)
Other (2)

Invocation Maya Deren 1986 (Movie)

film extracts("Meshes of the Afternoon" (1943) "At Land" (1944) "A Study in Choreography For Camera" (1945) "Ritual in Transfigured Time" (1946) "Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti" (1947) "Meditation on Violence" (1948) "The Very Eye of Night" (19 (Other)

The Very Eye of Night 1957 (Movie)

conception (Other)

Biography

Leading American avant-garde filmmaker sometimes referred to as the "mother of the Underground film. " In the US from the early 20s, Deren was intending to write a book about dance and accompanying Katherine Dunham on a national tour when she met Czech documentarian Alexander Hammid, who in 1942 became her second husband. Her first film, the surrealistic "Meshes of the Afternoon" (1943, 18 minutes) was a landmark in the history of American cinema, a psychosexually-themed "trance film" co-directed with Hammid. A striking beauty, Deren played the lead herself -- that of a young girl who claims to have been sexually molested, but one is not sure if the molestation is real or the result of a dream. The theme of dream vs. reality would play handily in Deren's future works as well. In her next work, "At Land" (1944, 15 minutes), Deren continued her subjectivist filmic odysseys and brought to the fore her concern with the manipulation of space and time, a recurrent preoccupation which resurfaced in "Ritual in Transfigured Time" (1946, 16 minutes), a formally daring exploration of dance and ritual.

Deren also lectured extensively and helped establish New York's "underground" film circuit, setting up avant-garde screening venues which gave birth to independent distribution houses such as Amos Vogel's Cinema 16. An insightful and articulate writer, she authored "The Divine Horseman: The Living God of Haiti" (1953), the result of a trip to Haiti which was to be the basis of a film, and the seminal "An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form and Film" (1946). A documentary on her life and legacy, "Invocation Maya Deren" was released in 1987.

Relationships

Alexander Deren

Father
director, State Institute for the Feeble-Minded in Syracuse, New York

Alexander Hackenschmied Actor

Husband

Teiji Ito Editor

Husband
Married 1960 until her death 1961

EDUCATION

League of Nations School

graduated

Syracuse University

Syracuse , New York

New York University

New York , New York

Syracuse University

Syracuse , New York

Smith College

Northampton , Massachusetts
graduate student; wrote master's thesis on the influence of French symbolists on imagist poets

Milestones

1975

Assembly of compilation film, "Out-takes from 'A Study in Choreography for the Camera'"

1961

Release of uncompleted film, "Witch's Cradle" (which Deren had worked on intermittently since 1943)

1958

Last completed film, "The Very Eye of Night"

1942

Made film directing debut, "Meshes of the Afternoon" (16mm, 18 mins)

1922

Immigrated with family to USA

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