I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.
Title: Meshes of the Afternoon
Release Date: 1943
Director: Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid
Production Company: Independent
Meshes of the Afternoon ranked #16 in the most recent Sight & Sound Poll of The Greatest Films of All Time. The short experimental film by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid is completely silent which serves as a good reminder of the importance of music and sound design to film even if there’s no dialogue. The movie is reminiscent of Luis Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou, which combined with the silence makes it feel around 15 years out of date. Then again, filmed in the sun-drenched streets of Los Angeles, it also feels like a precursor to film noir. Ultimately, David Lynch and Jordan Peele would draw inspiration from this film.
The story, as it is, involves a woman (Deren) pursuing a hooded figure with a mirror for a face. She ends up in a house and the sequence loops so that ultimately there are several versions of the same woman. There are repeated tropes of a key, a knife, and a telephone. Eventually, a man (Hammid) appears. Is he the hooded figure?
The movie is much darker than the previous movie I watched by the Deren and Hammid, The Private Life of a Cat. But they share a commonality in the way the camera is moved to provide point of view as well as the exploration of domestic interiors.It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but it does invite one to find an answer to the questions it spurs.