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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Peyote Queen (1965) by Storm De Hirsch

A classic of the psychedelic tendency, Peyote Queen is directed by the film-maker, Storm De Hirsch. The film is designed as an attempt to visually render the wealth of kaleidoscope visions of peyote (the hallucinogenic cactus ritually used by the Indians of New Mexico) onto film. According to the film-maker, Peyote Queen is an exploration in the color of ritual, in the color of thought, a journey in the depths of sensory disorder, of the inner vision, where mysteries are represented in the theater of the soul.
Storm De Hirsch : Like many experimental filmmakers at the time, she did not begin her artistic career as a filmmaker. She had been a poet and published a number of works in the early 60's. She wanted to find a new mode of expression for her thoughts that went beyond words on the page, which is when she turned to film making. Despite lack of recognition, she was very present in the underground film movement and socialized with every big name on the scene, filmmakers such as Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, Shirley Clarke and others. She mentions Jack Smith, Ingmar Bergman, Gregory Markopoulos, Michaelangelo Antoniono, Vittorio De Seta, Ken Jacobs, Federico Fellini" and Jonas and Adolphus Mekas as her favorite filmmakers.

On Peyote Queen:

"A further exploration into the color of ritual, the color of thought; a journey through the underworld of sensory derangement." - Canyon Cinema

"Soon the technicolor tiger claw scratches melt into dancing, human-like lines, and this is intercut with the progressive symbolism of the glyphs — breasts, fish, water, stars, the moon, female lips, seemingly a sailboat — De Hirsch represents these prehistoric glyphs by painting directly on the film stock. Unique, psychedelic motifs such as these certify Peyote Queen as an avant-garde gem." - DINCA BLOG

"A very beautiful work! The abstractions drawn directly on film are like the paintings of Miró moving at full speed to the rhythm of an African beat." - D. Noguez, La Nouvelle Revue Française

"Among my favorites ... beauty and excitement." - Jonas Mekas, The Village Voice


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