Difficult Woman N° 12


Maya Deren
(1917 – 1961)

Who: Mother of Independent Cinema, wearer of many creative hats: Avant-Garde Filmmaker. Choreographer. Dancer. Writer. Photographer. Taurus, moon in Leo.

Signature difficult moves: Said screw it to all cinematic conventions of the time. Her ground-breaking, experimental films utilized slow-motion, jump cuts, superimposition, and multiple exposures to create a surreal and dream-like landscape, abandoning established notions of film, storytelling, and even time and space. She also had no use for screening rooms, instead throwing a sheet up on her living room wall and inviting famous film critics over to have a look see. How cool is that?

What people said about her: “She was the transcendent centerpiece of every red-hot Village party in the late 1940s and early 1950s, a wild-tousled, peasant-bloused 1960s flower child before her time, a Botticelli babe in high bloom with Modigliani almond eyes and matching elongated lips, shaking her booty to Haitian voodoo drums.” — film critic Gerald Peary

Personals: Married three times, no children.

Feminine charms: Her dark wild hair, dancer’s grace, enigmatic gaze, and Slavic temper. (Appealed to some, not to others.)

How she spoke truth to power: Vocal critic of the film industry, claiming she made her better, more intelligent and artful pictures “for what Hollywood spends on lipstick.”

Quote to live by: It is not morbidity which draws crowds to scenes of disaster or unusual joy. It is the desire to participate in a moment when life breaks through to some higher level of intensity so that one’s own life might take fire from that sudden spurted flame.

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