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Maya Deren: Dance on Camera

Virtual Cinema - 2021

  • Wednesday, September 22, 2021
  • 12:00 p.m.
  • Virtual

Streamed online September 22 through September 28


A Study in Choreography for Camera

A Study in Choreography for Camera, a collaboration with dancer and choreographer Talley Beatty, is an early example of Maya Deren’s interest in the unique ability of film to expand and contract time. “I have attempted to place a dancer in a limitless, cinematographic space,” Deren stated. “Moreover, he shares, with the camera, a collaborative responsibility for the movements themselves. This is, in other words, a dance which can exist only on film.” (1945, silent, 2 minutes) With thanks to Gartenberg Media and Re:Voir, Paris.


Ritual in Transfigured Time

Set across social gatherings, interiors, and gardens, among other locations, Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946, silent, 15 minutes) features Deren herself along with Rita Christiani, Frank Westbrook, and Anaïs Nin as players within a loose, dreamlike narrative. This iconic work shares similar formal strategies with Deren’s tour de force _Meshes of the Afternoon_ (1943), including hard cuts between disparate physical locations and a sense of surreal play. Symbolism, slow motion, and stop-motion contribute to the almost Kabuki-like atmosphere with unforgettable effect. With thanks to Gartenberg Media and Re:Voir, Paris.


The Very Eye of Night

The Very Eye of Night was made in collaboration with members of New York City’s Metropolitan Opera Ballet School. Deren’s last completed film, this “choreography for the camera” is composed of negative film images of dancers against a starry night sky, giving the impression of an otherworldly, almost timeless space. The camera observes the movements from a bird’s-eye view and is also, at times, fully integrated with the performers themselves. (1958, music by Teiji Ito, 15 minutes). With thanks to Gartenberg Media and Re:Voir, Paris.

Film Programs: Virtual Cinema at the Gallery

Each Wednesday the Gallery shares a unique film on its website, free of charge, for one week. Join us for recent restorations, classic art cinema, exceptional documentaries, and a variety of films by artists. Click here to learn more.