In The Mirror Of Maya Deren

Maya Deren (1917-’61) did more than anyone else to create the American experimental film as we know it, and this 2002 German documentary (in English) by Martina Kudlacek is the best portrait of an experimental filmmaker that I know. Kudlacek steeps us in Deren’s artistic and bohemian milieu (basically Greenwich Village in the 40s and 50s, though she made her first film in Los Angeles and later spent much time in Haiti), and because Deren did such a good job of recording and documenting her own activities, the film is able to provide a detailed sense of what she was like as both a person and an artist. Among the eloquent friends and associates interviewed are Jonas Mekas, Katherine Dunham, Stan Brakhage, Amos and Marcia Vogel, Graeme Ferguson, Alexander Hammid (her second husband and sometime collaborator), Judith Malina, Miriam Arsham, Rita Christiani, Teiji Ito, and Chao-li Chi. 104 min. (JR)

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