At Land and Meshes of the Afternoon

I noticed several connections in the two short films we watched and the readings we’ve had. The idea of the montage was used throughout these films. Combining images to create a new narrative. When the protagonist of At Land climbs up driftwood roots to find herself on a dining room table, crawling through vegetation and along the table, and several other possible examples utilized this effectively to move the film forward. In addition to this I recall reading about a similar idea in which the camera, while in motion, is blurred to simulate a quick pan, and in the blur is the cut that was made from some sort of tower back to the protagonist on the beach.

Many of these ideas were utilized in Meshes of the Afternoon as well. But sometimes instead of using a montage or way to cover up a change, cuts were used instead. With keys turning into knifes right on screen.

I do not know if this is a popular opinion, but I disliked both these films very much, and while I see how they connect to our discussions and readings, I found them dull and difficult to get through.

2 thoughts on “At Land and Meshes of the Afternoon”

  1. Nick,
    As the semester comes to an end and we’ve analyzed and discussed film theory in great context throughout the course, I’m curious to see if your opinions on Deren’s two films still hold true. After initially screening the pieces, I could not agree with you more about the difficulty and confusion that ensued after watching the films, but now I see them in a new light. My revaluation of Deren is greatly attributed to the fact that I’ve devoted my final essay to analyzing her as an Auteur focusing on Meshes and At Land specifically to support my argument. After the first screening, I couldn’t grasp the progressive and advanced nature of them because it was clouded by frustration and confusion. Once I began unpacking them in my essay I realized that these film have made revolutionary changes to cinema and the respectability of the concepts used in Deren’s works is unfathomable. Her role in cinema as the mother of Avant garde represents her highly acclaimed status as a renowned filmmaker. It’s understandable that you couldn’t appreciate her art because you were unable to take away any of the significant meanings she incorporated in her pieces, but i I think dull if you had spent more time deconstructing At Land and Meshes, dull would be the last word you’d use to describe these two experimental films.

  2. Hi Shqiponja,
    At the end of this semester, I feel like I can understand some of the theory behind Deren’s films a little better, but I actually still do not enjoy them and they remain somewhat frustrating to me, this is also the case with 81/2, which is a well made film, but I cannot understand what in the world it was trying to do/say. That’s very similar to my thoughts on Deren.

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