At Land is another of Maya Deren’s dream like films. The message which it transmits to and its main subject rests on the idea of the mutability of a personality. Maya said once that this film was made to show people the struggle to maintain the personal identity. The whole film has only 15 minutes, in which a whole life is subjectively described. —Film-Makers’ Cooperative
Maya Deren (April 29, 1917, Kiev – October 13, 1961, New York City), born Eleanora Derenkowsky, was an American avant-garde filmmaker and film theorist of the 1940s and 1950s. Deren was also a choreographer, dancer, poet, writer and photographer.
Deren was born in Kiev, Ukraine to Solomon Derenkowsky and Marie Fiedler. It is said that she was named after Eleanora Duse, an Italian actress. In 1922 the family moved to Syracuse, New York. Her father shortened the family name to “Deren” shortly after they arrived in New York. He became the staff psychiatrist at the State Institute for the Feeble-Minded in Syracuse. In 1928, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Her mother moved to Paris to be with her daughter while she attended the League of Nations School in Geneva, Switzerland from 1930 to 1933.
Deren began college at Syracuse University, where she became active in the Trotskyist Young People’s Socialist League. Through the YPSL she met Gregory Bardacke… read more
Get out from the water and climbing up a droughty piece of wood which ends on a table of the aristocracy. Crawling along the table which could also be a forest. That is the pure magic of cinema, to transcend time and space; you can be where you wanted to be. This is poetry in images!
In all of my favorite Deren films, Maya creates at least one powerful image that lasts with you like you just woke up from a dream. In this film, for me it was: the retreating wave dropping her off on the beach, her climb up the tree to the chess board and the walk with the man(men) on the road.