"...The 'light fantastic' takes on a whole new meaning in director Nik Sheehan’s phantasmagoric 'FLicKeR' – the story of an artist who invented a drug-free way to achieve altered states of mind – through dancing pulses of light..."
The Canadian feature, produced by Maureen Judge of Makin’ Movies Inc., and awarded a Special Jury Prize for a Canadian Documentary at Toronto's 2008 Hot Docs Festival, focuses on Canadian artist/mystic Brion Gysin (1916-1986) and his invention, the 'dream machine', which he believed would revolutionize human consciousness.
Featuring William S. Burroughs and Gysin (in archival footage), singer Marianne Faithfull, rocker Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, singer/artist Genesis P-Orridge of Psychic TV, poet John Giorno, filmmaker Kenneth Anger and artist/turntablist DJ Spooky, "FLicKeR" is a hypnotic doc that asks fundamental questions about an individual’s freedom to dream and create.
The concept is a bright light placed inside a rotating cylinder with patterned holes until a pulse of between 8-13 Hz is achieved, the frequency of alpha waves in the brain, associated with creativity and dreaming, with subjects seeing shapes, images and hallucinations. Gysin hoped his dream machine would be a 'drugless high', replacing TV/cinema, where everyone could make 'their own spiritual movies', attempting to place it in every suburban living room, intriguing everyone who encountered it.
With a custom-made dream machine in hand, the film goes from Toronto to New York, London, Paris, Marseilles and Morocco, painting a fascinating picture of creator Gysin, who was involved with the Paris surrealist artists of the 30s, reportedly worked in counter-espionage during WWII, saw himself as a reincarnation of a 10th Century King, and had a close friendship with Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones, that led to the wide influence of 'Moroccan Jajouka' music.
Besides Toronto's Hot Docs, "FLicKeR" has been received as a cult sensation at the Atlantic International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Corona Cork Festival, Leipzig International Documentary Festival, Sheffield Documentary Festival, and Copenhagen International Festival...
Based on the book "Chapel Of Extreme Experience" by John Geiger, "FLicKeR" is written/directed by Sheehan and co-produced by Anita Lee of the National Film Board of Canada. Judge and Silva Basmajian (NFB) are also executive producers. DP is Harald Bachmann, editors are Caroline Christie and Miume Jan Eramo, with original music by Edmund Eagan...