MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 4,391 this week

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

7.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,759 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 23 critic

A solitary flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a phone off the hook: discordant images a woman sees as she comes home. She naps and, ... See full summary »

Directors:

, (as Alexander Hamid)

Writer:

0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 20 Aug 2011
 
a list of 41 titles
created 16 Apr 2012
 
a list of 35 titles
created 11 Sep 2012
 
a list of 45 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 26 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) on IMDb 7.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Meshes of the Afternoon.
1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Idiots (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The group of people gather at the house in Copenhagen suburb to break all the limitations and to bring out the "inner idiot" in themselves.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Bodil Jørgensen, Jens Albinus, Anne Louise Hassing
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A new man joins the civilian firefighters at a London unit during the Second World War. He meets his fellow firemen and firewomen, manages to enjoy some leisure time with them, and then ... See full summary »

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Philip Dickson, George Gravett, Fred Griffiths
Paisan (1946)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Attraverso sei episodi distinti ed indipendenti uno dall'altro, il film rievoca l'avanzata delle truppe alleate in Italia. Il primo parla di un episodio dello sbarco in Sicilia : una ... See full summary »

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Carmela Sazio, Gar Moore, William Tubbs
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In a dream-like sequence, a woman's eye is slit open--juxtaposed with a similarly shaped cloud obsucuring the moon moving in the same direction as the knife through the eye--to grab the ... See full summary »

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Pierre Batcheff, Simone Mareuil, Luis Buñuel
Short | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Kenneth Anger
Stars: Kenneth Anger, Bobby Beausoleil, Donald Cammell
Fantasy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Alice dozes in a garden, awakened by a dithering white rabbit in waistcoat with pocket watch. She follows him down a hole and finds herself in a hall of many doors. A key opens a small door... See full summary »

Directors: Cecil M. Hepworth, Percy Stow
Stars: May Clark, Cecil M. Hepworth, Blair
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

One of the greatest of black art pictures. The conjurer appears before the audience, with his head in its proper place. He then removes his head, and throwing it in the air, it appears on ... See full summary »

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès
Short | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two prisoners in complete isolation, separated by the thick brick walls, and desperately in need of human contact, devise a most unusual kind of communication.

Director: Jean Genet
Stars: André Reybaz, Java, Coco Le Martiniquais
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A band-leader assembles an orchestra by mystifying means.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès
Short | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two demons throw helpless captives into a boiling cauldron, and then try to summon forth their spirits.

Director: Georges Méliès
Stars: Georges Méliès
Family | Fantasy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A red balloon with a life of its own follows a little boy around the streets of Paris.

Director: Albert Lamorisse
Stars: Pascal Lamorisse, Sabine Lamorisse, Georges Sellier
La cravate (1957)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A short mime adaptation of a Thomas Mann story about a Parisian urchin who makes her living selling human heads.

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Stars: Denise Brossot, Rolande Polya, Alejandro Jodorowsky
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Maya Deren ...
Alexander Hammid ...
Edit

Storyline

A solitary flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a phone off the hook: discordant images a woman sees as she comes home. She naps and, perhaps, dreams. She sees a hooded figure going down the driveway. The knife is on the stair, then in her bed. The hooded figure puts the flower on her bed then disappears. The woman sees it all happen again. Downstairs, she naps, this time in a chair. She awakes to see a man going upstairs with the flower. He puts it on the bed. The knife is handy. Can these dream-like sequences end happily? A mirror breaks, the man enters the house again. Will he find her? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

knife | flower | bed | key | mirror | See more »

Genres:

Short

Edit

Details

Country:

Release Date:

27 October 2001 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Meshes of the Afternoon  »

Box Office

Budget:

$275 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Libary of Congress, in 1990. See more »

Goofs

When The Woman tries to open the supposedly locked door for the first time, it gives way a little (too much). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cool Hands, Warm Heart (1979) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Through the meshes of your mind . . .
14 March 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Meshes Of The Afternoon Meshes, according to Deren, is "concerned with the inner realities of an individual and the way in which the subconscious will develop, interpret and elaborate an apparently simple and casual occurrence into a critical emotional experience."

Have you ever stopped to wonder, when you see and touch a flower, what happens inside? Unless you are in purely botanical mode, it may very likely spark off something in your subconscious. The breath of spring. The beauty and harmony of nature. Perhaps something given with affection and gentleness. Maybe even a token of romance?

Maya Deren's wildly seminal work, Meshes Of The Afternoon, begins when a rather artificial looking hand places a flower on a pathway. The hand (and attached arm) pop out of existence, immediately alerting us to the fact that this is not a work of literal storytelling. The symbols of the next 14 minutes drill holes into our subconscious, where images speak louder than words, creating one of the most famous short films of all time.

A woman picks up the flower on her way home. At her doorstep, she drops her key. Once inside, she falls asleep in an armchair. Her dream-self sees her former self approaching the house. But the flower is being carried by a hooded figure whose only face is a mirror. Giving chase brings her no closer to the hooded figure – it just brings her to her doorstep. This time, when she ascends the stairs, we see her expression. No longer carefree, she is watchful, slightly suspicious.

A breadknife, previously cutting bread, lies on the steps. A phone off the hook, and the knife hidden in the bed. She sees her sleeping form and a gramophone playing endlessly with no sound. Through the cracked window she sees herself giving chase to the hooded figure and takes the key from her mouth. We look again. It become a knife with which she confronts two other images of herself. Eventually a man enters the picture.

The sight or touch of a flower reminds us that the subconscious mind works in symbols. Like images from a dream, the flower can bring certain feelings to the surface. Similarly a knife may be just an implement, or an implement with which we can feed ourselves, or hurt ourselves. Meshes Of The Afternoon soon evokes Freudian implications. Is the man coming home from work the fulfillment of her romantic dreams or their frustration? As an outside force, he can be a blessing or a threat, just as a mirror can show oneself or a reveal a hidden person. But Deren hotly denied it was surrealist. Whereas the surrealist is parodic, Deren is deadly serious. To her, their work was like doodling with symbols. Her polemics castigated surrealists for 'abnegating the agency of consciousness.' The role of the artist, she said, had degenerated. "His achievement, if any, consists in a titillating reproduction of reality which can be enjoyed in air-conditioned comfort by an audience too comatose to take the exercise of a direct experience of life."

The music (by Deren's third husband, and added 16 years later) adds to the sense of rising paranoia and dread. Its ritualistic feel has persuaded some commentators to suggest that the double characters and constantly changing identities stem from Deren's interest in Voodoo (her writings on the subject are still a leading authority - she was later initiated as a Voodoo priestess). Yet it wasn't until 1947, four years later, that Deren received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship that enabled her to begin visiting Haiti to study Voodoo. More likely they are indicative of an early grasp of psychology, a deep interest of hers and one which she shared with her father.

To signify the hooded figure as the Grim Reaper is also to trivialize and pigeon hole a symbol capable of many equally valid interpretations. Some feminist readings centre on the frustration of a woman left at home all day. Yet we can also look at it in the sense of someone coming to know themselves and risking their sanity in the process.

On a technical level, Meshes Of The Afternoon, shot on a miniscule budget, has almost non-existent production values and may fail easily to engage modern audiences. It has total disregard for Hollywood convention (the word 'Hollywood' in the opening titles could even be read as frustration with the barrenness of the industry there). There is an superficial similarity with works by Shirley Clarke or the early surrealism of Bunuel. Structurally, we can see its influence in Lynch's Lost Highway, where no explanation is given or needed for one thing (or person) turning into another (though some of the explicit symbols are explored more thoroughly in Lynch's later works, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire). By understanding Meshes Of The Afternoon, such 'populist' surrealism becomes child's play. As a journey of self-discovery with deep overtones, it follows a similar (though less tragic) theme to Nina Menkes' Phantom Love.

Some commentators have cast doubt over whether Deren was the primary artistic force in the film, saying it is largely the work of her husband Alexander Hammid. Deren's biographers disagree. Certainly it is her most famous, complex and mature piece of cinema, although her next film, At Land, maintained some of the enigmatic structure of Meshes Of The Afternoon. Later, her works would focus more on dance-film (except, perhaps, for her documentary on Voodoo, Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti). But whoever was behind Meshes, there are few segments of 14 minutes that remain so disturbing, so infinitely re-watchable, and so influential to this day.


19 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What is the appeal of this film? gavinshapiro
Your Top 10 Experimental/Avant-Ga rde Films lumdiengjri
I thought this film deserved a message post. LaNouvelleVague
The location eatwellrouth
help muhhman
Anyone know who edited this film? Ham_and_Egger
Discuss Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page