Tuesday, June 1, 2021


I was fortunate enough to be part of a Maya Deren retrospective recently where I spoke about her influence on cinema. 
Below is my written introduction along with a link (click here or the image) to view the pre-recorded version of the show.


From Alfred Hitchcock & Fritz Lang to Chantal Akerman & Steven Spielberg - the phrase “influential” gets thrown around a lot. Some films and filmmakers are so imbedded in to our psyche that we don’t even realize the influence. I think it’s important to get to the source of the influence (or as close to the source as possible) as it’s one lane of film history. It’s important to know where things come from.
In recent years there’s been more visual examples & visual essays showing influence between films and/or specific scenes, but for a long time criticism & analysis stopped either at a written assessment or just the phrase; “influential”. But it’s important (and kind of cool) to have images/gifs/videos next to each other to further hammer things home.

While Maya Deren didn’t invent cinema (and has plenty of influences herself), she’s still a very important figure in pushing the art forward. And not just in experimental or “art house” film. Her work has influenced everything from mainstream cinema to music videos.

If you’re familiar with Maya Deren and the idea of her being influential then chances are you’re aware of the ongoing connection between the imagery in her films and the films of David Lynch (we’ll see a few examples of this this).

But it doesn’t just stop there.

From Apchitapong Weerasethakul:

“It was very much influenced — in the structure, in the frames — by Maya Deren. She still influences me.” - Apichatpong Weerasethakul

To Bertrand Bonello:

the work of Maya Deren, of course, is one of the most accomplished on how to approach voodoo ceremonies” - Bertrand Bonello

Maya Deren’s influence is everywhere.

Some of the comparisons you'll see in the video are based on fact/direct quotes/research/etc.
Other comparisons are total speculation but they’re based on what I like to consider; “smart speculation”



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