DVD: FLicKeR (2008)

July 28, 2015 | By


FLicKeRFilm: Very Good

Transfer:  Very Good

Extras: n/a

Label:  Alive Mind

Region: 0 (NSTC)

Released:  July 14, 2009

Genre:  Documentary

Synopsis: Slightly stream of consciousness documentary on Brion Gysin and his Dreamachine device, beloved by several artists for its non-narcotic trippy effects on the conscious human brain.

Special Features:  (none)




Based on the book by John Geiger, Nik Sheehan’s documentary presents a pretty thorough examination of inventor Brion Gysin and his trippy gizmo, the dreamachine, a perforated spinning cylinder with an internal light bulb that mimics the fluctuating sine wave which supposedly induces a dream-like state when one leans towards the device with closed eyes.

The gizmo was actually a kind of co-production between Gysin and poet William S. Burroughs, and its cult and mystical nature attracted an array of writers, poets, singers, and filmmakers who used its steady flickering to drift into a relaxed state, conjure surreal imagery, and transfer their interpretation of its  amber-hued, pulsing light globs into words, dance, audio recordings with verbal quirks, and short experimental films.
Among the cast of delighted present day and former users are Kenneth Anger, Marcus Boon, Marianne Faithfull, Iggy Pop, Floria Sigismondi, DJ Spooky, and Genesis P-Orridge, the latter often acting as a guide and arbiter of the device’s history, usage, and impact.
Sheehan’s directorial style is experimental yet fluid, anchored to solid interview segments and a great variety of archival stills and film. The director often transports a dreamachine across the globe for his interview subjects to interact with, like Iggy Pop, who’s later seen rolling out a machine during a live performance.
Gysin gets as much attention as the device, which is important, as Sheehan is determined to expose the inventiveness and playfulness of the otherwise irritable and self-destructive Gysin through his poetry, audio recordings, roller-paintings, films, and comments from friends, associates, and critics.
The documentary may be ostensibly about the dreamachine, but after the End Credits (with great closing music by Twelfth Root / Edmund Eagan) have rolled, most viewers should be intrigued by Gysin’s other work (if not some rare shorts featuring William S. Burroughs), and perhaps explore available archival material, thereby ensuring the artist isn’t overshadowed by his cult invention.
Alive Mind’s bare bones DVD features a decent full screen transfer of this NFB-produced doc, a film’s that’s vastly superior to John Aes-Nihil’s William S. Burroughs in the Dreamachine (2015), which covers similar territory from the latter’s involvement.



© 2015 Mark R. Hasan



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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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