Thursday, September 27, 2012
Maya Deren’s THE VERY EYE OF NIGHT, movie review by Travis Hedge Coke
The star field following the opening credits of The Very Eye of Night is either twinning and rejoining, or overlapping, overtaking itself. The sequence lasts just under a minute and a half and is a fucking endurance trial. What about people or people-things? Is this movie made for stars to watch or people? The entire movie is only fifteen minutes and after titles and a brief animation of the tao being consumed by the dark portion we have stars and space doubling up and nearly coming together again for a minute and twenty-four seconds? Wait. Isn’t the tao, that circle of two perfectly twinned shapes, being lapped and overtaken by one of its two parts the same as the star fields? While waiting for something human to happen, while enduring that stillness in motion, that distant and inhuman white and black, the audience has time to actually think a thought, even if that thought is only a desperate attempt to make meaning, to make happening; to have something to resonate with us.
And, we are rewarded with things like people, shaped as people, but sometimes unflexing but sliding across space, some dancing formulaically over a night sky. All in negative. All as steady and as jerky as the two star fields that seemed to be aligning, but cuing us to no more purpose than those lights, that deep black space that might be only as deep as a sheet of paper. As deep as the tops of mountains, which, after all, ought to be pretty deep as far as they lay below the stars, beneath these people-like things or things like people.