Maya Deren’s Ritual in Transfigured Time is an experimental dance piece as much as it is a surrealist short film. The movie seems to be a continuation and culmination of the social anxiety felt in 1944’s At Land, as it mainly focuses on a woman (Rita Christiani) who finds herself wandering through a crowded cocktail party where everyone else seems to know each other. The others’ ritualistic greetings, which eventually involve the woman, become increasingly choreographed, until their grasps and releases essentially become a dance. When the scene shifts to the garden of a lavish estate, a balletic sequence breaks out involving the woman and a man from the party (Frank Westbrook), punctuated by striking freeze frames and extensive slow motion. There are a few remarkable single takes where Deren seemingly shifts camera speed mid-shot; we see the woman running at a normal pace, then the camera pans to catch the man, pursuing her with graceful leaps, in slow motion. It’s one of the more disarming, dislocating, disorienting flourishes in Deren’s cinema, perhaps her most masterful manipulation of bodies in space and time.