Meshes of the Afternoon:Experimental Creepiness

Moving on to Meshes of the Afternoon.  This quirky little experimental film was made by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid (who also play the two characters) in 1943, to the tune of $275.  TSPDT put it at #312 on their list.

Full Disclosure: I said in my Scorpio Rising review that for the most part, I don't care for experimental films.  This movie happens to be one of the exceptions...I may not "get" everything that's happening, but I definitely enjoy watching it...and I don't think you're necessarily supposed to have a clear-cut idea of everything that's going on in surrealist film, anyway.

So basically this film is about a woman who comes home and falls asleep.  She keeps seeing a Grim Reaper type figure and trying to catch it, but she can't.  After a certain point, she realizes that everything that's been happening to her is real.  The film ends with a man coming home and finding her sitting on a chair with her throat slit.  It's a 13 minute film available online, so you should all just go watch it!

Random Musings:

  • This music is ridiculously creepy.  I'm waiting for bad things to happen.  Interesting that the original print didn't have a score, and that this music was added about 15 years after the fact.

  • I'm not going to pretend that I understand everything in this film, but I really like its unsettling, dreamlike atmosphere and how it plays with the concept of reality.

  • I don't know exactly what the filmmakers were intending for this film, but for me it feels exactly like what a dream would be like if someone could capture it on film.  So surreal and unnerving.

  • And dear Lord the mirror-faced Grim Reaper terrifies me.  Look at this thing:

  • I like how it keeps using the same objects throughout the film.  Wikipedia says that they're psychologically symbolic objects, but I wouldn't have known that if I didn't read it there, so I don't want to pass it off as my own knowledge.

  • So...I'm thinking David Lynch may have seen this movie once or twice.  Just a guess.

So yeah, that's Meshes of the Afternoon.  It's a visually interesting short film (which is all I ask for, really...if you're not going to make complete sense, at least be aesthetically pleasing) that I think has probably had an influence on a lot of filmmakers today.  Some of the images are just so out there, you have to be impressed by the people who were creative enough to think them up for the first time.  I've seen this film several times in a number of different film classes, and I've always enjoyed it.  It's definitely worth a watch, if just for the WTF factor.  I'm sorry that I can't give a more in-depth critical analysis, I've always been woefully inadequate when it comes to dissecting experimental films.  All I can say is that you should watch it and make your own opinions on it, because it really is a stunning piece of work.

Thanks for reading, and check back for The Thief of Bagdad!

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment

Blog Directory