Essential Deren: Collected Writings on Film

by: Maya Deren

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Essential Deren: Collected Writings on Film / ISBN 9780929701653 / 261-page paperback from McPherson & Co.

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Until now, Maya Deren's essays on the art and craft of filmmaking have not been available in a comprehensive volume equally handy for students, film enthusiasts, and scholars. Essential Deren: Collected Writings on Film contains all of Deren's essays on her own films as well as more general essays on film theory, the relation of film to dance, various technical aspects of film production, the distinction between amateur and professional filmmaking, and the famous 1946 chapbook titled "An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form and Film," which has been reset here for the first time. There are hard-to-find articles written for magazines and art journals, as well as lectures, Q&A sessions, program notes, and manifestoes.

Born in Kiev in 1917, Maya Deren emigrated to the United States with her parents a few years later, grew up mainly in Syracuse, New York, and attended Syracuse University. A social activist from her teens, she became interested first in dance and subsequently in filmmaking. Throughout the 1950s, until her premature death in 1961 at the age of 44, Maya Deren was a leading exponent of experimental cinema and considered one of its most influential artists. She first traveled to Haiti to film dances in 1947, and returned in following years for lengthy stays. The work in Haiti led to the classic ethnographic study, Divine Horsemen, written with the encouragement of Joseph Campbell, as well as audio recordings and a documentary film which was later edited by Teiji and Cherel Ito.