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Dirty Pictures

4.0 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

SYNOPSIS

Alexander Sasha Shulgin is the scientist behind more than 200 psychedelic compounds including MDMA, more commonly known as Ecstasy. Considered to be one of the greatest chemists of the 20th century, Sasha s vast array of discoveries have had a profound impact in the field of psychedelic research, making him a subject of fascination and controversy among fellow scientists and a folk hero to recreational users of psychedelics. Dirty Pictures uncovers the lifework of Dr. Shulgin and takes viewers inside his Northern California home where he lives with his wife of 40 years and continues to carry out experiments in a makeshift laboratory. Director Étienne Sauret likewise delves into the broader world of psychedelic research where the fields of chemistry, neuroscience and philosophy intersect and investigates whether or not this particular field could aid in solving the deepest mysteries of the human mind.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Alexander Shulgin
  • Directors: Etienne Sauret
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Breaking Glass Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: November 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005JZBPNW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,325 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I mainly watch documentaries and informative films and left `dirty pictures' thinking, "what was that?" I think the root of the problem is a director who didn't try to direct anyone to make this a film about the Shulgins (or any specific message), and so people started off by describing their own work, and finished with their self-reflections. The result is that everyone in the film is a star, and instead of a flowing story that builds on a central theme you get it all piled up like so many short stories chopped up and shuffled into one deck.

Some of the clips were taken from other documentaries that were freely available on the Internet even before this film was released, so some of the Shulgin content in this film is actually being resold at an inflated price. Even the name `dirty pictures' is a serious let down, if anything it's misleading, and at best it's a title that was used by MGM for a film they released on DVD in 2000.

My painful honesty is pretty much lost on the Shulgins huge and loving fan base; if you don't like the Shulgins then you probably don't like people in general, but this isn't just about them, it's also about many other people which forces it's scope to be shallow, and for that the film seems to run too long; and not far enough into the lives of the amazing Shulgins.

I think the worst thing a documentary can do is to move the general public to indifference so for that the film earns one star, but because I have a deep affection for the Shulgins I'm adding on one star to the film for them actually being in it; it's my personal bias.
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Format: DVD
In most cases the title of a movie relates directly to the content of the film. Other times it may be a purposeful misdirection to heighten interest with perspective members of the audience. This just happens to be the case with a documentary recently released by Broken Glass Pictures, `Dirty Pictures'. Your natural inclination would be to think that this film is about pornography or perhaps risqué art but you would be far off from the subject matter of this insightful and eminently entertaining movie. This documentary considers the life and work of a name that is most likely unfamiliar to you, Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin. As an organic chemist he was responsible for the proliferation of a compound whose technical name is Methylenedioxymenthamphetamine. Once again the name may elude you but it is reasonably certain you know it by its acronym or at least its common street name, MDMA, Ecstasy, or simply `X'. There is a lot of just cause to vilify this substance as recreation use and abuse of the drug has accelerated the destruction of many lives leaving a considerable death toll in its wake.

Typically there are several approaches a documentary filmmaker can take ranging from humorous to straight arrow serious. The content can also be either colored to suite a particular editorially view point or stick to the facts as if the movie was presenting legal testimony. In the case of the documentarian Etienne Sauret his style is a refreshing combination of previously unconsidered facts presented in a home movie style. This has the effect of seamlessly blending some technical details that brought me back to graduate studies in Organic and bio-chemistry.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am very interested the subject matter of this film, but the film is terrible. I have read Shulgins' books and many others. I was really looking forward to this movie when I bought it.

This film is one of the worst films I have ever seen.

The editing is bizarre and disorienting. The movie does not flow. The movie is basically a collection of video clips, randomly cut and mixed together with no sense of proper timing or coherence. The result is a jarring experience that is hard to watch. I felt it was giving me a headache.

Making matters worse, there was no narration or story flow. Some of the clips had no apparent connection to the subject matter.

We made it through about half the film before turning it off.

Its a shame that such fascinating subject matter was treated with such carelessness.

Seriously, this is the worst documentary ever made.
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Format: DVD
How could anyone make a bad documentary about a character as fascinating as Alexander Shulgin? Well, (is it Ms. or Mr.?) Etienne Sauret has managed to make a documentary that's not only bad, but it's downright painful to watch, and, would, given only a tiny amount of smart-alecky extrapolation, provide good evidence that psychedelic drug consumption might be best avoided by aspiring artists, in stark contrast to the commonly held myth that they aid artistic ability. I mean, usually psychedelic artistic output is usually just a little hokey at worst, like old Yes and Hawkwind album covers from the 1970's or maybe some black-light painting with an R. Crumb theme, not this incredibly confused effort that feels like it was scripted by someone who'd been watching _Memento_ repeatedly during a 72 hour meth binge.

Before you judge me, please let it be known that you'd be harder pressed to find a bigger fan of the Shulgins than I. I've worn out my copy of PIHKAL -- twice. I checked the website for this movie regularly and prayed that it'd finally make it to DVD. Trust me, I was looking for any possible excuse to like it, or even like a little bit or piece of it.

The directing "style" is a art-school sophomore effort (although I could not tell if it was intentional or not) that is somewhere between the disjointed narrative of Harmony Korine's "Julien Donkey-Boy" and the final "acid montage" scene of _Easy Rider_.
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