The 14-minute Meshes of the Afternoon (1942), by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, is as abstract a film as one can find, which nevertheless evokes a sphere of real meshes for the central figure played by Deren herself. Meshes are things that ensnare, and the existence of such inevitably make the woman’s home a domain of uncertainty and panic. An avant garde domain.
MITA is not meant to entertain; it is meant to be art. The dreamlike violence, such as it is, is old hat now, but the rest of the footage has an up-to-date—a timeless—feel. And, for good measure, it’s more respectable than, say, many of the photographs of Cindy Sherman.