Odaku: "Meshes of the Afternoon" (1943)

By Kwaishon Bell | 4/29/15 10:29am

Welcome to the first edition of Odaku, Dartbeat's very own column that will discuss experimental films and work to make this genre more accessible to Dartmouth students.

Odaku title
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+ Intent | Most media relies upon traditional visual and narrative techniques. American media focuses too much on producing action flicks, dramas and cartoons. Ironically, other visual forms of expressions such as experimental film, avant-garde techniques and camera-less film remain unpopular. If a film isn’t guaranteed to make money it often goes unmade or unseen. The intent of Odaku is to bring more visibility to these oft-unseen visual masterpieces. Our culture’s main form of entertainment is too reliant upon gazing at screens, and if we are going to be looking on to images for entertainment, then we should have variety in what we watch.
+ [PS] | A big part of Odaku is you! Be sure to post your thoughts, opinions, questions, and suggestions – it’ll be worth it (read on).

+ About Me | Hi, I’m Kwaii. I want to get to know you, so I’ll list some things about myself: 1 I am Human 2 I am a DJ 3 I really enjoy experimental film, because it takes a profound departure from the traditional story telling techniques that Hollywood has engrained within the industry (end rant). 4 I enjoy the color pink 5 My favorite animal is the rabbit 6 If I could have a super power it would be intangibility (like Shadow Cat from X-Men) 7 I like doing things a little differently

Maya Deren, “Meshes of the Afternoon” (1943)

+ Maya Deren Maya Deren on “Meshes of the Afternoon”

- 1990: “Meshes of the Afternoon” is chosen for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

+ Meshes of the Afternoon

+ [Kwaii] | I am intrigued by the different elements in filming in black and white vs. filming in color. I find that lighting is the key. Pioneer experimental filmmaker Maya Deren in “Meshes of the Afternoon” (1948) incorporates excellent lighting and editing that illustrates a masterful understanding of light and shadows. This film makes use of a non-narrative association with sound. Traditional narrative film makes use of sound primarily to support the narrative. Instead of this, Deren uses a sound to elicit emotional associations within the viewer.
The changes in pace also make for a different reaction within the viewer. Deren plays with slow motion in some shots, allowing the viewer more time to observe the frame. In this way she breaks the audience’s expectations and distorts our understanding of space, time and reality. I believe that cinema that blurs the boundaries of the screen — making the audience question what they are watching or what is real — are truly brilliant pieces that speak to both the artist’s intellect and skill.

Odaku playlist

+ This section of Odaku will host a vast assortment of various kinds of music. Have a song you think everyone should hear? Post a comment with a link to your song and your thoughts on our first edition of Odaku!

Sage the Gemini — “Don’t You? (JoeKay Edit)”

The Chainsmokers, feat. Siren — “Kanye”

Ellie Goulding v Daft Punk — “There’s Something About Us”

Kwaishon Bell