A great find, from Alexis C. Madrigal @ The Atlantic (The Best Experimental Film About Cats Ever Made):
During the mid 1940s, Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid made films together as a husband-and-wife team. Who did what and who deserves the credit for directing or shooting their films remains disputed scholarly territory, but suffice to say, they were great together. The first film they created was the 1943 short epic, Meshes in the Afternoon, which attempted to capture the movements of the subconscious in its repetitions and startling shifts in perspective and scene. It’s gone on to become one of the most recognized and cited American experimental movies of the period. After hanging around the New York arts scene with people like John Cage and Anais Nin In 1947, Hammid and Deren joined together for another artful production, the last before they split.
They made a film about cats. And it is so, so good.
This is not a joke. The film they produced, The Private Life of a Cat, is dramatic and intense. It begins with the introduction of the two main characters: the male and female cats that lived at Deren and Hammid’s apartment. After some head licking by the cats, we are told that the female cat is pregnant and we see her jumping into a box where she remains for a good portion of the rest of the film….