At Land

1944

Dir. Maya Deren, 16mm B/W Sound 00:14:00

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Description

Deren’s second experimental film, AT LAND (1944), reinforces her interest in the juxtaposition of anachronistic spaces and introduces a critique of social rituals. This film begins by reversing the natural rhythm with images of waves breaking and descending back into the sea. Starring again, Deren is seen climbing up a dead tree trunk on the beach, magically emerging onto a table where a formal dinner party is in progress. This ‘civilized’ world ignores Deren as she crawls along their dinner table. By depicting herself as invisible to the diners, Deren highlights the myopia of the guests. The dinner sequence in At Land ends with an enchanted chess game. A pawn falls from the table and descends back into the dead wood on the beach, it falls over rocks, into the water and is washed away over the waterfalls. Chasing the pawn, Deren is restored to her original landscape.

[Source: Senses of Cinema]

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