Poetry in Motion – The Films of Maya Deren
The Bakery Main Space
REVIEW: Alex Wolman
It has become something of a fashion to refer to artists who are not poets as being poets of their respective mediums.
Often this ill-informed description simply comes from the artist in question producing non-narrative work.
Maya Deren is not of this category, she is a mid-twentieth century filmmaker who used the medium of film as an alternative language to the written word, to produce what are fundamentally moving visual poems.
The film event Poetry in Motion – The Films of Maya Deren showcased three of Deren's most famous works: At Land, Ritual in Transfigured Time, and Meshes of the Afternoon.
These three surreal semi-narrative films contain that quivering and strangeness of signs that is characteristic of profound poetry.
Innovatively using cinematic techniques, Deren leads the viewer into a hazy world where familiar images are alienated from their usual existence and bestowed with a poetic potential to move past themselves and extend meaningfully.
Memory, the subconscious, ritual and mortality are all touched upon in Deren's films.
The music accompaniment performed by the improvisational trio Loudly Whispered was successful and greatly appreciated.
It emphasised the tones of the films and often provided cues in mood that were appreciated when watching such complex and enigmatic works. Furthermore, the simple fact of filling in the silence was most certainly a prerequisite for having the film event. Silent films screened in public suffer the fate of feet shuffling and coughing and consequently the audience becomes acutely aware of the people around them.
Despite the whole event only lasting 50 minutes, it was the most moving artistic experience I have had in recent times.
I do hope this type of event continues as it is a wonderful way to introduce people to powerful works that they might not otherwise be privy to – myself a case in point.Poetry in Motion was on February 3 as part of Fringe World 2013.