KINO 23: Goodbye in the Mirror, a Rarely Screened Feature by Storm de Hirsch

Kino 23 is 25 FPS Festival’s special section dedicated to feature and medium-length films which are not necessarily experimental, but exude an experimental, groundbreaking spirit in terms of approaching the narrative, film language or vision of the world.

In this year’s Kino 23, the audience will have a chance to see the rarely screened film Goodbye in the Mirror (1964) by the iconic figure of the New York avant-garde scene of the 1960, Storm de Hirsch. Inspired by the author’s personal experiences, the film is set in Rome and focuses of three roommates – an American Maria (Rosa Pradell), an Englishwoman Berenice (Diane Stainton) and a Swede Ingrid (Barbara Apostal) – i.e. their fleeting and whimsical affairs with other partners.

Half scripted and half improvised, this is the filmmaker’s debut and also the only feature piece, which set the aesthetic and thematic criteria for her later short films greatly preoccupied with an analysis of female subjectivity. The film premiered in Cannes in 1964 and it was screened the same year at the Locarno festival.

Active at first as a poet and painter, and only in her forties as a filmmaker, Storm de Hirsch (1912-2020) was a prominent member of the American countercultural scene. Together with Jonas Mekas, Shirley Clarke, Stan Brakhage and other famous artists of the New York underground scene, she established The Film-Makers’ Cooperative in 1962, an association for the distribution and promotion of experimental and independent film with the aim of standing up against the commercial and mainstream film industry. She was the first woman awarded the American Film Institute fellowship (1968) and her work includes around 15 experimental films made in the 1960s and 1970s were retrospectively screened in New York’s Whitney Museum (1973). Her films are characterised by non-linear structures, reflexivity, carnality and brutality, aiming to explore the visions bringing together male and female energy. After the death of her husband and artist Louis Brigante in 1975, Storm de Hirsch withdrew from the scene and her work fell into oblivion, mainly because of the selective nature of film and history studies of the avant-garde which tended to neglect the contribution of women filmmakers.

In the past years Storm de Hirsch’s fascinating visions are rediscovered and presented to the broader public, and the 25 FPS Festival audience will have a chance to see her feature black and white debut from its original 16mm print.

The film will be screened in Zagreb (SC Cinema) on Sunday, 26 September at 10pm, and in Rijeka (Art Cinema Croatia) on Thursday, 30 September at 6pm.