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Alexander Hammid (1907-2004)


Bezucelna Prochazka (Aimless Walk) (1930)
Na Prazskem Hrade (At Prague Castle) (1932)
The Highway Sings (Silnice zpivá) (1937)


HAMMID, Alexander(b. A. Hackenschmied, 1907-2004). Born in Austria, he grew up in Prague, making his first silent experimental film, Bezucelna Prochazka/ Aimless Walk in 1930. Working as a cinematographer for the leftist American documentarian Herbert Kline, he fled Czechoslovakia in 1939 to the US where he met and married Eleonora Derenkowskaya who took the name, perhaps with his advice, of Maya Deren, much as he too took a new name. With her he collaborated on the classic avant-garde film Meshes in the Afternoon (1943) that established her reputation that survived their divorce. In the 1960s, Hammid began collaborating with the sometime painter Francis Thompson on multi-screen films: To Be Alive (1964), which knocked me out at the Montreal World's Fair, both of which remain in my mind as masterpieces of the under-developed genre. Later Hammid and Thompson, among the great collaborations in modern film, produced To Fly! (1976), which remains the pioneering classic in the -- Richard Kostelanetz, Dictionary of the Avant Gardes





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