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AT LAND begins at sea. In the film's stunning opening sequence, a woman (played by filmmaker Maya Deren) emerges on shore, climbs up a pile of driftwood... and finds herself in the middle of a formal banquet. She then moves from lush, verdant jungles to seaweed-strewn beaches, stealing chess pieces from other characters. Deren's second film is a masterpiece of editing and production design, detail and texture, conjuring a world where up is down and black is white. Photographed by the female cinematographer Hella Heyman, who worked with Deren on three of her films (and who later married Deren's ex-husband, Alexander Hammid, after he and Deren divorced), AT LAND proved that the creativity and originality of vision behind MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON was no accident: Deren was an artist to be reckoned with. Like the films of one of her favorite filmmakers, the 19th-century cinematic magician Georges Méliès, At Land showcased its director's technical skill and boundless imagination. "How we worked for those passages through brush," Deren said. "I wanted it to look like an underwater garden--the leaves to be the swaying leaves of underwater...How we worked for the reflection of water on my face! And the falling down the rocks is the tempo of underwater falling!" - Livia Bloom

  • Year
    1944
  • Runtime
    14 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Maya Deren