Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) – Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid

As I explore the final pages of DK Canada’s immensely informative The Movie Book, I’ve moved into the last section of this catalogue of films. Herein lies another title from The Directory, a selection of titles that are exceptional but didn’t make the cut for the main body of the text.

Meshes of the Afternoon is a surreal short that feels like a little slice of Twin Peaks, at least to me. A woman (Maya Deren) has a nap during the afternoon and has a vivid, symbol-filled dream that messes with time, space, repetition, a cloaked, mirror-faced figure, and possibly murder.

Coming in at about fourteen minutes the film definitely has a dreamlike quality to it, and the revelation at the short’s end is unnerving as some of the images that populate the film.

Shot in black and white, which only adds to the strange experience of the film, I’m sure countless folk have bantered and bickered about the film and its meaning. It’s a fascinating watch that definitely stays with you after the viewing.

MeshesOfTheAfternoon

I was wrapped up in this one, much like I get with some David Lynch films, trying to suss out its meaning, or at least what it meant to me, and I found it provocative, and troubling as there are hints of life, death, growth, freedom, and violence.

As a short film, there’s not a lot to pontificate on in terms of production and acting. But as a dark dream, this one is actually going to stay with me a while. It’s funny, I’ve started and stopped this entry a number of times, as I just can’t shake some of the images from my head, especially that last one.

And I guess that’s the point of cinema, to stay with you, conjure thoughts, promote discussion, and show the surreal magic that a camera, editing, and narrative can perform.

This is a pretty exceptional piece, and much like so many other titles in DK Books’ The Movie Book, I wouldn’t have known about it without this handy resource at my fingertips.

So do yourself a favour, pick up a copy, leaf through it and find an old friend or a new to you classic to watch tonight. Or experiment a little and watch something that messes with your senses like this one.

This one is definitely a piece of cinema, and not a movie.

Check it out for yourself.

meshes

 

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