All posts by Angelina Mercedes

Maya Deren Films.

In At land (1994), encompasses the image of woman washed up on the sand by the waves of the ocean, though the film is silent, the action isn’t. There are different movements whether it’s the motion of the waves, the flying of birds. She holds onto a branch of wood which brings her to life (waken by nature). Then the Illusion of a climbing a branch, then leads to the climb of a table surrounded by men and women in conversation and smoking cigarettes. The fading of both scenes, climbing through nature and reality (a table surrounded by people who don’t even notice her) Leads to a man playing chess. The actress is always disappearing through holes and appears in different settings. Lots of going through, climbing up, climbing down, falling through, going up and moving through the scene from wide-shots and close-ups.

In Meshes of The Afternoon (1943), the protagonist who is played by Deren is the central focus through her silhouette casted on the wall as she picks up the flower from the floor. At the beginning of this short experimental film there is some secrecy to  it because we have no idea who the lady in the shadow is. The interaction between the shadows and life were great towards the beginning of the film. As the film continues we don’t know its dreamlike quality until the scenes, mise-en-scene and sounds are familiar to things we recognize in the film earlier on. (i.e., The knife, the telephone, the flower, the protagonist chasing a black figure in the distance, the record player, the bed, the key, the door, the couch of the woman sleeping and the stairs) The play on these aspects of the film are what reveal its overall focus is to reveal a dream, which are confusing, nonrealistic and repetitive in this case. Overall, her film plays on the subconscious level of self and discusses even further the capturing of reality with a tie on exposure to the non-realistic parts of life our dreams onscreen.

Both short films seem dreamlike and as if Maya Deren is going through the different types of herself? Through her effects and edits  in her short films.

“By Means of the Cinema, We can Observe the World.”

The title of this post was taken directly from Kuleshov’s piece on Montage, because it was a phrase that resonated with me. From our discussions it was pretty clear to me that ‘Film cannot portray Reality’ because reality is not as vivid or interesting. By this I mean, we can all have exciting, dramatic, scary, sad, happy moments happen in a matter of 2-6 years, but reality is no one wants to watch 2-6 years of footage. We want to see 90 minutes, of all the events, but in short bits.

So yes in the sense of time, we can’t mimic reality. But when I read this phrase “By means of cinema, we can observe the world,” I just thought that it is true because we can expose each other to our different experiences. Sure they won’t be ‘reality,’ but they do reveal a familiarity that we can all connect to or an unfamiliarity that we can contrast. The artist/director makes a decision on the cuts and edits such that they stray away from reality or sense of realness, but the content is what I am focusing on. For instance, if I traveled the world to film the harsh and problematic issues of immigration and nationalism in Europe and had a showing at Lafayette.  I would be able to reach to an audience who has not been exposed to issues of the ones I have footage of.

So in that sense, cinema does expose others to a world. In this hypothetical scenario, my film would be the vehicle to exposing lafayette members outside of just Easton or the USA.  But my representation may not be accurate? or will it? Regardless of the response to that question, I know that through the means of cinema, I am showcasing a part of a world that was a personal experience that I had. (hypothetically speaking) Which might be different than others who have been in Europe, or similar? (or will be another case of the help?)