Lynchian before Lynchian Was a Word – Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)

More bizarreness.  This is an experimental film that is difficult to put into words; a woman dozes off one afternoon and finds recurring images crossing her mind, such as a phone that’s off the hook, a knife, a flower, a key…  What does it all means?  Well, that’s up to debate.  Even as a whole, this is very difficult to describe as anything other than an avant-garde art film.  You see things that sort of make sense, but for the most part, this utilizes dream logic; you see images, they’re unexplained, and it’s up to you to figure out what it all mean.

mirror maskIt was just Halloween, and I’ve gotta say, mirror masks are a totally underrated costume idea.

Now this is in the same vein as An Andalusian Dog, and they would make a great double feature together.  They’re both under twenty minutes (this one is only 14 minutes), surreal as can be and completely open to interpretation.  It’s the kind of film that you study, and you can have a completely different view on it each time you watch it.  What I got from it was that this is a woman, possibly under anesthesia or something of the like, with personal demons, considering suicide.  I’ve read theories that this is about a woman finding her own personal identity through getting involved in a conventional relationship, I’ve also read theories that this has a lot to do with Freud, and the knife represents a tool to sever a relationship in two.

meshesOf course, nowadays there’s an interpretation for just about everything, so there’s always that to consider.

There is a lot about this that works on a subconscious level to be very affecting.  For example, the music is unnerving and constant, there’s a lot of eerie shadow work, and it’s a lot like that M.C. Escher relativity painting in film form in a number of spots, you’ll know it when you see it.  Because it works on a subliminal level, you end up doing a lot of the work, which is pretty cool.  I’m pretty certain that this is about death, but I won’t be writing up any thesis about this.  It’s worth the 14 minutes because you will never see anything quite like it.

Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) ****

– Critic for Hire


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