Ritual in transfigured time

United States, 1946

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An experimental film by Maya Deren illustrating what she describes as a critical metamorphosis, the changing of a widow into a bride. The process is not narrative or dramatic but choreographic. The attempt was to create a dance film, not only out of filmic time and space, as previously achieved in earlier films, but also out of non-dance elements. The dance quality is best expressed in the party scene: the party is treated as a choreographic pattern of movements. The final transformation of the widow in black to the bride in white is achieved by use of negative film, which reverses the values of the positive monotone. Photography by Helen Heyman; Choreography devised by Maya Deren and dancer Frank Westbrook; Principal performers are Rita Christiani and Frank Westbrook. Uncredited appearances by Maya Deren, Anais Nin and Gore Vidal.



Maya Deren






Black and White

ACMI Identifier


Subject categories


Experimental → Experimental films - United States

Music & Performing Arts → Modern dance

Short films

Short films → Short films - United States

Silent films




16mm film; Access Print (Section 1)

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If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url=https://acmi.net.au/works/72257--ritual-in-transfigured-time/ |title=Ritual in transfigured time |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=26 January 2021 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}