Peyote Queen by Storm de Hirsch


Ubuweb turns up another gem of abstract cinema with this 1965 work by Storm de Hirsch. The only film of hers I’d seen prior to this was Third Eye Butterfly (1968), screened at the 2005 Summer of Love psychedelia exhibition. Both these shorts share the same spilt-screen effect but Peyote Queen cuts kaleidoscopic views of the woman in question with brightly-coloured animated glyphs and shapes created by drawing directly onto the film emulsion. This is an old technique which goes back at least as far as Len Lye’s pioneering films of the 1930s. Peyote Queen‘s drum soundtrack and white dots flickering on black are very reminiscent of Lye’s brilliantly minimal Free Radicals (1958) which was also made by scratching the film.

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Mary Ellen Bute: Films 1934–1957

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