Short Reviews for Short Films

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

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This 1943 short titled Meshes of the Afternoon starring and directed by Maya Deren is a prime example of what was going on in the American film industry during the independent avant garde movement. The entire 14 minutes of the silent film is  very symbolic. There is no narrative to this short –  and is commonly referred to as a trance film in which the protagonist appears to be in a dreamlike state, and where the camera conveys his or her subjective focus.

According to Deren, she wanted to:

to put on film the feeling which a human being experiences about an incident, rather than to record the incident accurately.”

The film reminded me most of Kate Chopin’s Story of an Hour, in which the entire plot revolves around what the protagonist is thinking inside of her head in the hour after she is told that her husband has died.

Discordant images are the focus of the film. The knife is the key to her freedom. The music of the film is dark and eerie and creates a sense of unease. I interpreted the whole thing as a mesh of different scenarios going on within protagonists’ head. The entire happenings of what is going on onscreen are different ways of interpreting her situation. There is no clear ending and we are left to decipher for ourselves what we just witnessed.


Written by danielleshortfilm

February 21, 2011 at 2:28 am

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