|Birth: ||Apr. 29, 1917|
|Death: ||Oct. 13, 1961|
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
Avant Garde Filmaker, Author. The destruction of realistic space and time occurs in Deren's dreamlike films, which unfold with their own poetic logic. Her first and best known work, "Meshes of the Afternoon" (1943), is considered a landmark of experimental cinema. The daughter of a prominent Russian-Jewish psychiatrist, she emigrated with her family to the United States in 1922. She majored in journalism and literature at the University of Syracuse and NYU, and received her master's degree from Smith College in 1939. Following a stint as secretary to choreographer Catherine Dunham, Deren met Czech-born filmaker Alexander Hammid in Los Angeles and married him in 1942. Hammid awakened her interest in cinema as a means of personal expression and they collaborated closely on "Meshes of the Afternoon" and her second completed film, "At Land" (1944); the enigmatically beautiful Deren played the central roles in both. The couple divorced in 1947. Unable to get her work shown through traditional channels, Deren held screenings at her Manhattan apartment and later took the films on tours of colleges and small venues throughout the US, Canada, and Cuba, accompanied by lectures in which she railed against the Hollywood studio monopoly. Her activities inspired Amos Vogel to found America's first important independent film society, Cinema 16 in New York, and won over such critics as James Agee and Manny Farber. She became the first filmmaker to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship (1947). Her other films are "Witch's Cradle" (unfinished, 1943), "A Study in Choreography for the Camera" (1945), "Ritual in Transfigured Time" (1946), "Meditation on Violence" (1948), and "The Very Eye of Night" (1958). Deren's restless intellect led her to make three visits to Haiti (between 1947 and 1954) to study the Voudoun (Voodoo) ritual; she not only gained the trust of its practitioners but was initiated as a Voudoun priestess herself. She wrote a book of her studies, "Divine Horsemen: the Living Gods of Haiti" (1953), and recorded two albums of Voudoun music; she also shot over 18,000 feet of documentary footage but never completed the editing. Deren died of a cerebral hemorrhage at 44. Her third husband, musician Teiji Ito, scattered her ashes on the port side of Mount Fuji in Japan. He later assembled her Haitian footage into the non-fiction feature "Divine Horsemen" (1985), named after her book. In 1986, the American Film Institute created the Maya Deren Award to honor independent film and video artists, and four years later "Meshes of the Afternoon" was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". (bio by: Bobb Edwards)
Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Specifically: Ashes scattered across the port side of Mount Fuji, Japan.
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni
Record added: Mar 23, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13710287