Monday, November 14, 2005

The mother of American independent cinema


If the word pioneer can be applied to some artists, then Maya Deren certainly deserves the description. A vanguard female filmmaker in the 1940s, in a period when women certainly were scarce in the film world (and, proportionally, still are), Deren made some of the most widely seen experimental pieces in American independent cinema history. She lept to artistic prominence with the 1943 'Meshes of the Afternoon', which was referenced to by David Lynch in Mulholland Drive. Born in the Ukraine and raised in New York, Deren often performed in her own films, which often had a dreamy, surreal feel. In 1947 she was awarded a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation to travel to Haiti to make a film about Vodou and the result of her meeting and subsequent involvement with the religion is the film Divine Horsemen: Living Gods of Haiti. Deren died in 1961 at the age of 44 from a brain haemorrhage.

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