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Flicker

3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Nik Sheehan's riveting documentary explores the life of Brion Gysin and his quest to transform human consciousness. With interviews from some of counter-culture's most eccentric icons - from Iggy Pop to singer Marianne Faithfull - Flicker is a fascinating exploration of the age-old search for the boundaries of reality.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Brion Gysin, Kenneth Anger, Marcus Boon, Udo Breger, Catherine Clément
  • Directors: Nik Sheehan
  • Writers: John Geiger, Nik Sheehan
  • Producers: Anita Lee, Brian Cullman, Christina Clarke, Leslie Valpy, Maureen Judge
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Alive Mind
  • DVD Release Date: July 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0026MP19K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,009 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Flicker" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 26, 2014
Format: DVD
Brion Gysin was an artist in Beat circles who created a remarkable kind of strobe light that can cause hallucinations. The Dreamachine, as the device came to be known, is experienced with the eyes closed, and its 8-13Hz oscillation is said to resonate with the brain's alpha waves. Though the curious drugless high made a big splash with some of the 1960s counterculture (John Lennon is said to have used one often), it never broke through to wider society. FLicKeR is Nik Sheehan's 2008 documentary on the machine and its inventor.

Sheehan presents the machine's impact through extensive interviews, and a lot more public figures out there have used this obscure device then I would have thought: Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth, socialite Leila Hadley Luce, Marianne Faithfull, Genesis P-Orridge, DJ Spooky, Kenneth Anger, John Giorno, Iggy Pop, Ira Cohen, and French philosopher Catherine Clément. Neurologist Bastiaan ter Meulen gives a scientific background for the machine's effects. There is archival footage of Gysin and William S. Burroughs. Of course one cannot have first-hand experience of the Dreamachine from a documenty, but there are some visual effects meant to give an idea of the colourful visions it creates.

There is plenty of background on Gysin's life as an artist, how the machine was invented, why it was never successfully marketed (it can cause epilepsy in those prone to it!), and how artists in the decades since have made their own from mimeographed step-by-step instructions.

The documentary does run overlong and at one point Genesis P-Orridge seems to take over with his/her own ideas of art distinct from Gysin, and then there is a digression on the medieval Islamic sect of the assassins (with a major factual error).
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Maybe 15-20 minutes in, I muted and went to bed. Scroungy old women reeking of desperation to relive their misspent youth (should have been enough, but I just had to keep trying to find something redeemable, didn't I?)-- gah. From what I can gather, said youth was spent staring at a spinning laundry basket under which sat a hundred watt light bulb. I was just beginning to wonder what had them so excited when I was uncomfortably presented with one of these scroungy woman moaning pleasurarably... her formidable, seventy-something bulk shuddering at the mere sight of it (uh...... >ew!<).

Inventor interview is pseudo-scientifically hilarious: "Something-something-something-eh-neurobiology. Something-something-something-eh-ehhhhh-sciency-stuff-and-thangs". This guy is batspit crazy. As a student of the sciences I was laughing with the disillusioned lab guy who, building the thing according to spec, was flabbergasted as to the point of it.
"Ahhhhh I see" he declares condescendingly "You close your EYES". Then he looks at somebody off camera with an expression of complete disgust.
I'm with ya, brother.
The music was painfully attempting recreate how it feels when you actually DO take the brown acid, and the William Burroughs relationship slant was icky. Overall, I leave the thing thinking that the only thing worse than wanna-be avante garde hucksters is ancient, looks like it's stinky, rehashed wanna be avant garde hucksters. You'll find more culture watching streamed episodes of Family Guy for a good twelve hours straight.
This was gross.
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The movie was a documentary style film about the various people who had experienced the Gysion DreamMachine. The movie has no instructions about the use of the machine, just testimonials.
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Documentary style
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