Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) is a short experimental film directed by wife and husband team, Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid. The film’s narrative is circular, and repeats a number of psychologically symbolic images, including a flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a mysterious Grim Reaper-like cloaked figure with a mirror for a face, a phone off the hook and an ocean. Through creative editing, distinct camera angles, and slow motion, this surrealist film depicts a world in which it is more and more difficult to catch reality.
“This film is concerned with the interior experiences of an individual. It does not record an event which could be witnessed by other persons. Rather, it reproduces the way in which the subconscious of an individual will develop, interpret and elaborate an apparently simple and casual incident into a critical emotional experience.”
— Maya Deren on Meshes of the Afternoon, from DVD release Maya Deren: Experimental Films 1943–58.
The film was originally silent – the soundtrack, by Deren’s third husband, Teiji Ito, was only added in 1959.