+ otherwise pictures llc


from the ladies

1977  |  16mm  |  color  |  sound  |  20 min
Holly Fisher
Holly Fisher
Holly Fisher
Layered voices recorded and composed – looped, layered – by Holly Fisher
Holly Fisher, Evelyn (ticket saleswoman), Holiday Inn NYC voices of cleaning women


Filmed in the multiple-mirrored women’s powder room of the NYC Holiday Inn: A space designed exclusively for me (being a woman), which seemed simultaneously seductive and vulgar, and in which the most visible object was myself looking at myself with Bolex-in-hand. Looking at From the Ladies is an orchestration of tensions from this play between myself as filmmaker subject, object, and woman. Filmmaker at play with the gaze, so to speak.

Shooting begins with slow pans in wide sweeping arcs that capture anyone walking through. Gradually the shooting tightens, culminating in a passage of single-frame bursts reflected in the many mirrors. Space is transformed into an abstract swirl of motion and emotion. Tempo is the result of shot duration, as I flirt with real and reflected images, active and passive moments, making seamless shifts between subjectivity and abstraction. The sound track layers random bathroom sounds with looped voices of hotel cleaning women plus intermittent fragments from conversations occurring in the ladies room.


Tracks using looped and layered voices of hotel cleaning women was composed and edited by Holly Fisher, who considered this to be a musical element in the manner of a distant Greek chorus.

Original Film Lab – Filmtronics. A & B rolls were put on the street when they went out of business. MOMA Circulating Film restored Glass Shadows & From the Ladies, mid ’90s.


Theatre Image Forum, Tokyo, Japan (1982)
Cineprobe, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (1984)
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (1985)
Barnard College Women’s Film Festival, New York, NY (1984)
“The Films of Holly Fisher,” Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (Retrospective, 1995)


Mass Council for the Arts Production Grant (1975)