Retrospective: Maya Deren

Friday, 4.11. 7.30 pm, Kino in der Kulturbrauerei

Moderation: Valentyna Zalevska

I make my pictures for what Hollywood spends on lipstick.” Maya Deren

The retrospective is dedicated to the works of Maya Deren, probably the best-known US pioneer of experimental film, dancer, and film theorist of the 1940s and 1950s. Deren was born Eleanora Solomonovna Derenkovskaya in Kyjiw/Ukraine in 1917 and released nine short films during her lifetime; two more films were released after her death. She filmed Marcel Duchamp, explored voodoo rituals, experimented with cinematic language and earned the title “mother of the American avant-garde.”

In the first half of the 20th century, cinema was just beginning. Most filmmakers relied on theater and literature, so films seemed static, consisting primarily of dialogue. Deren's films were completely silent – no one spoke, and there wasn't even any music playing. Yet they were hypnotic: Deren skillfully manipulated space and time. She urged freelance filmmakers to leave their tripods behind, not loading up on equipment. Instead the filmmaker is equipped by holding the camera and using the body as a tripod.

This retrospective is intended to pay tribute to this pioneer of poetry film. In her films, Deren employed a poetic film language that served as a template for later filmmakers.

Content note: The films in this programme may contain explicit depictions of physical and/or psychological violence as well as various kinds of assault. Please be aware that these depictions may trigger survivors and may thus prove harmful to their mental health.

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