Hide and Seek

Director: Su Friedrich
Screenwriters: Su Friedrich, Cathy Nan Quinlan

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


A luminous voice in the world of experimental film, Su Friedrich is an artist of grand ingenuity and striking courage. Teeming with thought and craft, Hide and Seek is a lyrical essay on the ecstasy and anguish of adolescence. Taking as its subject the childhood memories and prepubescent fantasies of lesbians, Hide and Seek provides a personal perspective on the nature versus nurture debate as it relates to the formation of a woman’s sexual identity.

As its interviewees recount pivotal memories of early fantasy, burgeoning eroticism, and unbridled imagination, the film’s dramatic narrative observes the emerging sexuality of Lou, a twelve-year-old girl growing up in the sixties. Within a society whose cultural iconography and social mores do not allow for the projection of two women being together, Hide and Seek relays its subjects’ first feelings of desire and often shame in the face of the “shadowy evil” reproach of lesbianism. From early crushes on female teachers to the erotic rush of sliding down the bannister, secret pinings for Playboy pinups to painful denials elicited by the game of “truth or dare,” Hide and Seek miraculously revives our own memories of the alternately awkward and exhilarating passages of youth. As we in the audience are transported back into the rich fields of early imagination, the film invigorates reflection on our pasts—the meaning we derive from our own experiences and perhaps their different resonance for others with whom we shared those moments.

Skillfully melding genres and imagistic sources, Su Friedrich takes the aesthetic and conceptual concerns of her earlier films to new levels. Lucid, articulate, and breathtakingly poetic, Hide and Seek is nothing short of masterful.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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