Meshes of the Afternoon

Meshes of the Afternoon ★★★★★

Satisfying portrayals of the female experience of love and desire remain too few in cinema. Sugarcoating and presenting women as powerless towards their own emotions, films often fail to communicate the darker feelings that can coexist with more commercial ideas of exhilaration and fulfilment. Meshes of the Afternoon, by contrast, focuses precisely on these disturbing emotions, revealing a woman’s complexity through pure mise en scène and without forcing any given interpretation upon the spectator. Maya Deren herself goes deeper and deeper into her perplexed psyche as she considers the limited settings of a sunny street leading to a two-storey house and the evocative objects within it. She enters into it, returns to it and perceives it from a variety of angles. Although she is first following a man, the film is about his absence and the way Deren fills it with a personal reflection on her feelings for him. Duplications, transpositions and distorted camera movements coalesce to depict a woman questioning her sentiments rather than letting them rule over her.

From a series on 100 Great Films Directed by Women for Little White Lies last year. 

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