Skip to main content

IN THE MIRROR OF MAYA DEREN

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).

See also...

BLUE VINYL

"Arguing that vinyl is the most potentially deadly consumer product on the planet, Blue Vinyl doesn't just draw our attention to the lurking danger. Rather, this enormously entertaining documentary ... More »

STANLEY KUBRICK: A LIFE IN PICTURES

The ultimate documentary about one of the most gifted and controversial filmmakers of our time. With the complete cooperation of the Kubrick family and his many friends and colleagues, this is an ... More »

JAMES ELLROY’S FEAST OF DEATH

"A gripping peek into the dark places of America's prime crime writer. This brilliant, harrowing documentary traces Ellroy's life, work and personal odyssey. Exceptional." - The Guardian ... Academy ... More »

ABC AFRICA

Celebrated Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami receives a desperate fax from a Ugandan orphan relief organisation. Assistance is urgently needed and a documentary on the subject by so esteemed a ... More »

NOBLE ART

Noble Art could be a contender to step into the ring with the Muhammad Ali doco When We Were Kings as one of the few boxing documentaries to be of interest to those who usually find the sport a ... More »

THE EXECUTION OF WANDA JEAN

This unflinching documentary probes a strange and complex murder case. Just before Christmas 1988, Wanda Jean Allen shot and killed her girlfriend in front of an Oklahoma police station. A black ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director