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Austria / Germany / Switzerland, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Documentaries)

Director: Martina Kudlácek

A pioneer of American avant-garde cinema, voodoo priestess and dancer, Maya Deren created a unique body of work before dying, tragically young, in 1961. She was a vivacious, bohemian artist whose fierce individuality and wildly exuberant appearance and manner allowed her access to a diverse group of cultural icons.

This beautifully assembled biography of Deren - a Rotterdam Film Festival highlight - incorporates stunning archival footage shot in Hollywood and Haiti during the 40s and 50s, as well as excerpts from her most renowned works. Sound recordings of Deren aid immeasurably in bringing her presence to life. Interspersed throughout are interviews with legendary filmmaker Stan Brakhage, Deren's husbands, director Jonas Mekas and historian Amos Vogel - all stalwarts of the experimental scene. Outstanding soundtrack by avant-jazz giant, John Zorn.

"Deren was so singular and accomplished that it's hard to avoid a certain amount of awe, the film is neither hagiographic hero-worship nor sordid expose - it's simply a monument to an important and overlooked artist... Stan Brakhage's hyperbolic account of her voodoo powers is quite enough to make you want to see and know more about her achievements." - Film Freak

Martina Kudlácek (born in Vienna, 1965) studied at the University of Vienna and the Prague Film and TV Academy. Her previous work comprises still photography, experimental documentaries and videos including Positivita (1994), L'amour Fou (1995), Aimless Walk (1996) and Alexander Hammid (1996).

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