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Ritual in Transfigured Time

Ritual in Transfigured Time

Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946) is a short, silent experimental film directed by Maya Deren. Like Deren's previous work, A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945), she explores the use of dance on film through the lens of commentary of societal norms, metamorphosis, and anthropomorphism. The film is notable for its disjointed storytelling and use of slow motion, freeze framing, and unique blend of stage dance and film.

Plot

Maya Deren's character sits in a room with string wrapped around her hands in a manner reminiscent of cat's cradle. Rita Christiani is drawn to Deren and begins winding the string into a ball. Close-up and slow motion highlight the intense feeling on Deren's face as she talks and moves her hands up and down, performing the first of the rituals in the film. Anaïs Nin looks upon the scene scornfully. Christiani finishes winding the string, Deren disappears, and Christiani walks through the doorway Nin is standing in.